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Is Happiness Different From Flourishing? Cross-Country Evidence from the ESS


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  • E. Clark
  • Claudia Senik


This paper appeals to novel survey information on over 30 000 individuals in 21 European countries to address an important and controversial question with respect to well-being: Do cognitive, hedonic and eudaimonic measures of well-being reflect very different aspects of individual quality of life? Or, more precisely, do the subjective appreciation of these dimensions by individuals exhibit different patterns? Our empirical results first reveal a very significant correlation between happiness and life satisfaction. Second, someone with high standard ?hedonic? well-being (happiness or life satisfaction) is likely to have high eudaimonic well-being as well (flourishing, vitality, resilience and functioning). In addition, the factors that are correlated with the different measures of well-being seem to be very similar at the individual level. For example, marriage, higher income and greater education are associated with greater satisfaction, but also with higher levels of flourishing, vitality, resilience and functioning. This fit is not perfect, however, and men notably report lower levels of standard well-being measures, but higher eudaimonic well-being.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Dalloz in its journal Revue d'économie politique.

Volume (Year): 121 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 17-34

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Handle: RePEc:cai:repdal:redp_211_0017

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Keywords: Happiness; Life Satisfaction; Eudaimonia; European Social Survey;

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  1. BOSSERT, Walter & CHAKRAVARTY, Satya R. & D'AMBROSIO, Conchita, 2009. "Multidimensional Poverty and Material Deprivation," Cahiers de recherche 12-2009, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
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Cited by:
  1. Cahit Guven & Claudia Senik & Holger Stichnoth, 2011. "You can't be happier than your wife. Happiness Gaps and Divorce," PSE Working Papers halshs-00555427, HAL.
  2. Piper, Alan T., 2012. "A Happiness Test of Human Capital Theory," MPRA Paper 43496, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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