SCOTS are now happier than English people in spite of higher mortality rates, a paper by two highly respected economists has found.

Former Monetary Policy Committee member Danny Blanchflower, who is joining the University of Glasgow, and David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling, say in their working paper issued by the Massachusetts-based National Bureau of Economic Research: “Contrary to what we found in an earlier paper, those living in Scotland are happier than those living in England despite paradoxically having higher mortality and suicide rates.”

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They note that Scotland ranks second behind Northern Ireland, which is the “happiest of the four home countries in every one of the equations”.

Highlighting Scotland having overtaken England in terms of the happiness of its people, the economists say: “This contrasts with our findings in an earlier paper, Bell and Blanchflower (2007), where it was found using four-step life satisfaction Eurobarometer data for 1973-2002 that Scotland had significantly lower life satisfaction than England ¬- that is no longer the case in the raw data.”


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However, Mr Blanchflower, who is continuing as Bruce V. Rauner professor of economics at Dartmouth College in the US after taking up the University of Glasgow post, and Mr Bell highlight their findings that “Scotland has a nadir in well-being in midlife similar to that of England, Wales and Northern Ireland”.

In their paper, entitled ‘The U-Shape of Happiness in Scotland’, they say: “This finding is consistent with a series of other studies that have found well-defined U-shapes in wellbeing and hump shapes in unhappiness for the UK and the majority of other countries in the world. “

The economists declare: “We find evidence of a midlife low in Scotland in well-being at around age fifty using a variety of measures of both happiness and unhappiness. We confirm that higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with higher levels of happiness in Scotland.”

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Mr Blanchflower, who is joining the economics department at the University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School, told The Herald last month: “I am literally going to come to think about Scotland.”

Noting the Scottish Government’s relatively high popularity with the electorate and its decisions to make period products free and offer free university tuition for Scots, while also touching on the nation’s support for European Union membership, he said then: “I think suddenly the attractiveness of Scotland has really jumped.”