Yes We Can ...: Happiness Levels Can Change, But Most Recent Changes Are in the Wrong Direction
AbstractInfluential economists, like Bruno S. Frey and Richard Layard, are advocating that the standard approach in economics of inferring utility from changes in consumption and leisure should be augmented or replaced by use of subjective measures. But psychologists claim that adult life satisfaction (or happiness) is more or less fixed; it has a "set-point" which is largely determined by genetic factors and early childhood development. Analyses of life-span data, collected by the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) in the last 20 years, challenge this claim. About a quarter of the West German population experienced substantial changes in life satisfaction, but losses outweighed gains by a ratio of about 3:1. It is likely that a major reason for the negative balance is relatively poor economic performance since the early 1990s. On the other hand, the results show that the "set-point theory" of psychologists is seriously flawed. Life satisfaction can change and may be open to improvement via individual life choices and/or public policy.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its journal Weekly Report.
Volume (Year): 5 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.