SUSTAINABILITY, vol.15, no.11, pp.1-18, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
The COVID-19 pandemic has recently caused the loss of millions of lives, and billions of others have been deeply affected. This crisis has changed the way people live, think about life, and perceive happiness. The aim of this study is to reveal differences between geographical regions by investigating the effect of the happiness variable on different countries during the international COVID-19 pandemic. The primary purpose is to demonstrate how such a pandemic may affect different countries in terms of happiness at the individual level and to identify possible strategies for the future. With this aim, both static and dynamic panel data models were used while applying fixed effects, random effects, and the generalized method of moments (GMM). A basic assumption in panel data models is that the coefficients do not change over time. This assumption is unlikely to hold, however, especially during major devastating events like COVID-19. Therefore, the piecewise linear panel data model was applied in this study. As a result of empirical analysis, pre- and post-COVID differences were seen between different geographical regions. Based on analysis conducted for three distinct geographical regions with piecewise linear models, it was determined that the piecewise random effects model was appropriate for European and Central Asian countries, the piecewise FGLS model for Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the piecewise linear GMM model for South Asian countries. According to the results, there are many variables that affect happiness, which vary according to different geographical conditions and societies with different cultural values.