Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Jason Schnittker


Quantitative studies of human happiness often assume that the determinants of happiness are universal across time and place, reflecting inherent psychological needs. This dissertation challenges this assumption, exploring the idea that the determinants of happiness vary across social contexts. Chapter one tests the hypothesis that relationship between religiosity and happiness depends upon economic conditions; chapter two examines the impact of unemployment on happiness across four countries; chapter three explores the impact of private sector employment on happiness against the backdrop of the Chinese market reforms. Taken together, the findings suggest that researchers seeking to better understand the determinants of happiness should account for the moderating effects of social conditions.