Three-country research shows South Africans most unhappy with lockdown
Economic well-being researchers performed a comparative study between the three diverse countries to explore the effect that lockdown regulations had on people’s level of happiness.
South Africa, New Zealand and Australia all have different economic, political and demographic situations.
The lockdown regulations were also different, however, similar outcomes were found from the survey. The researchers used Difference-in-Difference econometric modelling strategies.
The results were based on tweets extracted from Twitter. It was performed by Talita Greyling, a well-being economist at the University of Johannesburg and board member at the International Society of Quality of Life Studies and well-being economist Stephanie Rossouw at the Auckland University of Technology.
Greyling said all three countries had different responses to curbing the spread of Covid-19.
According to the research, South Africa and New Zealand both had very strict lockdown regulations. During South Africa’s level 5 lockdown people were only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons and were instructed to work from home.
The same regulations were held for New Zealanders, however, their citizens were allowed to buy alcohol and tobacco. Exercise was also permitted outside their homes.
“Currently South Africa has progressed to level 3, slightly relaxing the lockdown measures, whereas New Zealand has progressed to level 1 with no restrictions except on international travel. Australia, which follows a federal system of government, never went into complete lockdown compared to New Zealand and South Africa,” said the research findings.
South Africa being the largest population out of the three countries, with 57.7million people had a lower average happiness score of 6.32. The country’s economic outlook is bleak and is predicted to contract at 7% this year.
New Zealand is an island economy with a relatively small population of 5.5million people and had an average happiness level of 7.14, however, the economic outlook was positive.
“All three countries suffered happiness losses, however, South Africa which has the strictest lockdown regulations was by far the greatest.
"The average happiness loss in all three countries was at least 6% due to the lockdown. However, the loss in South Africa was greater than in the other countries,” said the research findings.