Interplay between competitiveness, quality of life and corruption: Empirical evidence from Europe

  • Bianca Andreea Calin
  • Valentin Partenie Munteanu
Keywords: Competitiveness, corruption, happiness index, quality of life


National competitiveness and citizens' happiness are important goals for political leaders. Thus, the need to create and implement systems and processes is arises to ensure public policies, thereby contributing to the sustainable development of a country or community. Globally, despite attempts to achieve satisfactory results on improving living standards, arise obstacles that may alter the finality of the desired results. This paper examines, first of all, the influence of one of the most significant such obstacles, corruption, by examining its relationship with competitiveness. A second direction of analysis is focused on studying how the effects of happiness contribute to the development of national competitiveness. Specifically, the analyses performed on corruption and happiness include various indicators of a political and social nature, being achieved at European Union level and on geographical clusters. The article highlights the importance of the influence of the role of corruption in economic and social life with a strong impact on competitiveness and the level of happiness shown. Corruption, as a mode of action of public institutions, will influence and affect economic results, resulting in the decline of national competitiveness.

The analysis of competitiveness data is based on the Global Competitiveness Report for the period 2015-2019, the data on the perception of corruption come from the analysis of the Corruption Perception Index and the data on the global happiness from the Global Happiness Report for the same periods. The results show that most of the case, the nations with a low degree of corruption are the most competitive, at the same time showing a high level of happiness of the population.


1. Ackerman, R., (1996). The Political Economy of Corruption: Causes and Consequences. Retrieved from

2. Agatiello, O. R., (2010). Corruption not and end. Management Decision, 48(10), 1456-1468

3. Anderson, H. J., & Gray, W. C., (2006). Anticorruption in Transition 3. Who is Succeeding…and Why? Washington DC: The World Bank

4. Banwet, D. K., Momaya, K., & Shee, H. K., (2002). Select Issues of Competitiveness: Perceptions, Reflections and Directions. Global Business Review, 16(4), 665 - 679
5. Bekhet, A. K., Zauszniewski J. A., & Nakhla W. E., (2008). Happiness: Theoretical and Empirical Considerations. Nurs Forum, 43(1), 12 – 23
6. Brandts, J., Riedl A., Winden, F., (2005). Competition and Well-Being, Discussion Paper no. 1796

7. Chaudhuri, S., & Ray, S., (1997). The competitiveness Conundrum: Literature Review and Reflections. Economic and Political Weekly, 32(48), M83 – M91

8. Clark, A. E. & Senik, C., (2015). Happiness and Economic Growth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, page 1 – 32

9. Easterlin, R., (2004), The Economics of Happiness. The MIT Press, 133(2), 26-33

10. Filgueiras, F., (2006). A corrupcao na politica. Perspectivas Teoricas e Metodologicas. Utopia y Praxis Latinoamericana 11(34), 1-29

11. Frey, B. & Stutzer, A., (2002). What Economists Can Learn from Happiness Research. Journal of Economic Literature 40(2), 402 - 435

12. Helliwell, J.F., Layard, R. & Sachs, J.D., (2019). World Happiness Report. Retrieved from

13. Kahneman, D., Diener E. & Schwartz, N., (1999). Well-Being. The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation

14. Krueger, A. B., (2005). Well-Being and Policy Evaluation, Paper presented at the Econometric Society World Congress London. Retrieved from

15. Mauro, P., (1995). Corruption and Growth. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 110(3), 681 – 712,

16. McFadden, D., (1989). The New Science of Pleasure. Frisch Lecture, Presented at the Econometric Society World Congress London

17. Mill, J.S., (1863). Utilitarianism, London: Parker, Son and Bourn, West Strand (Romanian Edition: Mill, J.S., (2014), ALL Publishing House, Translator Valentin Mureșan)

18. Porter, M., (1985). Competitive Advantage, New York: The Free Press (Romanian Edition: Porter, M., 2000, Teoria Publishing House)

19. Rotberg, I.R, (2017). The Corruption Cure. How Citizens and Leaders can combat graft, New Jersey: Princeton University Press

20. Schwab, K., (2019). The Global Competitiveness Report, Retrieved from

21. Sen, A., (2013). India’s dirty fighter, Retrieved from

22. Smith, A., (1776), The Wealth of Nations, London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell (Romanian Edition: Smith, A., (2011), Publica Publishing House, Translator Monica Mitarcă)

23. Stanojević, M., Bošković, & B., Bugarinović, M., (2018). Competitiveness of rail freight corridors – case study: corridors X and IV, Retrevied from

24. Stevenson, B., and Wolfers, J. (2008). Economic Growth and Subjective Well – Being: Reassesing the Easterlin Paradox. Retrevied

25. Subarna, K. S., & Rajib, N. S. (2010). National Competitiveness and Perception of Corruption. Advances in Competitiveness Research 18(1/2), 89-101

26. Tanzi, V., Davoodi, H., (1997) Corruption, Public Investment and Growth, Retrieved from

27. Transparency International, (2019). Corruption Perceptions Index 2019’’, Retrieved from

28. Waheeduzzaman, A.N.M., & Ryans, J.K. Jr., (1996). Understanding of international competitiveness: a quest for a common ground’’, Retrieved from
How to Cite
Calin, B., & Munteanu, V. (2022). Interplay between competitiveness, quality of life and corruption: Empirical evidence from Europe. Timisoara Journal of Economics and Business, 14(2), 85-106. Retrieved from