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Religion, Marriage and Happiness – Evidence from Taiwan

Naiwei Chen () and Ho-Chyuan Chen
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Naiwei Chen: National Chiayi University
Ho-Chyuan Chen: National Chung Cheng University

Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2021, vol. 16, issue 1, No 14, 259-299

Abstract: Abstract Existing literature has provided ample evidence indicating a positive relationship between marriage and happiness across many countries except Taiwan, where marriage seems irrelevant to happiness. No research to date has empirically shown what exactly contributes to such a phenomenon. This study, using the Taiwan Social Change Survey for 2012 as the study sample, found that religion strongly matters in determining the linkage between marriage and happiness. More specifically, results strongly indicate that married people are happier among Christians, but such phenomenon is unobserved among people affiliated with other religions. Hence, the previous finding of no gap in happiness between married and non-married people can be attributed to unique religious demography in Taiwan, where Christians are minority (4.89% based on the 2012 Survey) and the majority of population are affiliated with religions that do not emphasize marriage as much (e.g., Buddhism, Taoism, folk religion, and irreligion). Although this study provides strong evidence to support the important role of religion in determining the relationship between marriage and happiness, religion may not be the only factor that can explain the insignificant relationship between marriage and happiness in Taiwan. Future studies are recommended to explore the other reasons (e.g., gender) behind this observation.

Keywords: Religion; Happiness; Marriage; Probit model; Generalized ordered probit model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s11482-019-09765-6

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