180 – Avoiding a “despair death crisis” in Europe. The drivers of human (un)sustainability


The emergence of the despair death crisis in the US stimulates researchers and policymakers to look at subjective wellbeing data from a different perspective.

We wonder what can be done to avoid a similar situation in Europe and to this purpose we analyse factors correlated with (leading to) permanent depression in the European Social Survey by considering the latter as a proxy of despair deaths.

We find strongest correlations with poor income, high income expectations, low education, low skilled jobs, status anxiety, poor social relationships, failure and shocks in affective relational life.

If causality links between these drivers and the dependent variable are verified and confirmed we can conclude that the despair death crisis depends from a mix of material and immaterial factors that cannot be fully solved by mere monetary redistribution.

Keywords: depression, life satisfaction, happiness.

JEL numbers: I30, I31.