NATIONAL NEWS - A comparative study of happiness levels in populations of three countries during the coronavirus-related lockdown has revealed that South Africa has earned a lower average score of 6.32%, compared to New Zealand (7.14%) and Australia (7.09%).
Using difference-in-difference econometric modelling strategies, two leading well-being economists, Professor Talita Greyling SA scores lowest in happiness levels, says study of the University of Johannesburg and Dr Stephanié Rossouw of the Auckland University of Technology, have found there were significant happiness losses in the populations of the three countries due to the impact of lockdown.
Among other key findings in the study on the strictness of lockdown regulations in the three countries, the research also focused on economic, political and demographic factors.
The research found:
- Lockdown regulations were the direct cause of lower levels of happiness and well-being during the pandemic.
- The stricter the lockdown regulations, the greater the happiness loss.
All three countries suffered happiness losses, with South Africa emerging as presenting by far the unhappiest population.
The three countries introduced various responses to the virus outbreak, with South Africans not allowed to leave their homes except for essential work and the buying of goods and services during Level 5 of the lockdown.
In the same alert Level 5, New Zealanders were allowed to buy alcohol and tobacco, with physical exercise permitted outside their homes.
While South Africa has progressed to alert Level 3, New Zealand has progressed to Level 1, with no restrictions except for international travel.
Australia never went into a complete lockdown, as those implemented by New Zealand and South Africa.