Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Leonardo Becchetti

    ()

  • Alessandra Pelloni

Abstract

The recent availability of cross-sectional and longitudinal survey data on life satisfaction in a large number of countries gives us the opportunity to verify empirically (and not just to assume) what matters for individuals and what economists and policymakers should take into account when trying to promote personal and societal well-being. We now have ample evidence, generally robust to different cultural backgrounds, on the effects of some important happiness drivers (income, health, unemployment, marital status, etc.) which can be considered “quasi-stylized facts” of happiness. If economic policies, for many obvious reasons, cannot maximize self-declared life satisfaction as such, we are nonetheless learning a lot from these findings. In particular, results on the relevance of relational goods, on the inflation/unemployment trade-off in terms of welfare and, more in general, on the measurement of the shadow value of non-market goods obtained with life satisfaction estimates are conveying relevant information about individual preferences and what is behind utility functions. Such findings suggest that the anthropological reductionism characterizing most economic models can be misleading and that target indicators of economic policies have to be refocused if we want to minimize the distance between economic development and human progress. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12232-013-0177-1
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal International Review of Economics.

Volume (Year): 60 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 113-155

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:spr:inrvec:v:60:y:2013:i:2:p:113-155

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/12232

Order Information:
Web: http://link.springer.de/orders.htm

Related research

Keywords: Life satisfaction; Shadow value of non-market goods; Unemployment/inflation trade-off; A13; D64;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
  2. Gardner, Jonathan & Andrew Oswald, 2002. "Does Money Buy Happiness? A Longitudinal Study Using Data on Windfalls," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 81, Royal Economic Society.
  3. Angeles, Luis, 2010. "Adaptation and anticipation effects to life events in the United Kingdom," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-01, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  4. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  5. Andrew E. Clark & Nicolai Kristensen & Niels Westergård-Nielsen, 2009. "Economic Satisfaction and Income Rank in Small Neighbourhoods," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 519-527, 04-05.
  6. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert J. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 615, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Ludwig, Jens & Miller, Douglas L., 2006. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," IZA Discussion Papers 2111, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Andrea Brandolini & Silvia Magri & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2010. "Asset-based measurement of poverty," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 267-284.
  9. Jonathan Gardner & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 319-336.
  10. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  11. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Watching alone: Relational Goods, Television and Happiness," Working Papers 90, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
  12. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, . "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IEW - Working Papers 143, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert F. Tamura, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Antoci, Angelo & Sacco, Pier Luigi & Vanin, Paolo, 2007. "Social capital accumulation and the evolution of social participation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 128-143, February.
  16. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Exploring the economic and social determinants of psychological well-being and perceived social support in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 513-537.
  17. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  18. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
  19. L. Randall Wray, 2005. "Monetary Policy Strategies of the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_431, Levy Economics Institute.
  20. Marshall, Alfred, 1890. "The Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number marshall1890.
  21. Alberto Alesina & Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2001. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," NBER Working Papers 8198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Daniel W. Sacks & Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being, Income, Economic Development and Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 3206, CESifo Group Munich.
  23. Bruno Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2009. "The life satisfaction approach to valuing public goods: The case of terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 317-345, March.
  24. Becchetti Leonardo & Pelloni Alessandra & Rossetti Fiammetta, 2008. "Relational goods, sociability, and happiness," wp.comunite 0039, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  25. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2007. "Endogenous growth, decline in social capital and expansion of market activities," MPRA Paper 3341, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  26. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  27. Leonardo Becchetti & Elena Giachin Ricca & Alessandra Pelloni, 2009. "Children, Happiness and Taxation," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 230, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  28. Basu, Kaushik, 1994. "The Traveler's Dilemma: Paradoxes of Rationality in Game Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 391-95, May.
  29. Andrew E. Clark, 2012. "Happiness, Habits and High Rank: Comparisons in Economic and Social Life," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 452, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  30. Max Haller & Markus Hadler, 2006. "How Social Relations and Structures can Produce Happiness and Unhappiness: An International Comparative Analysis," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 169-216, 01.
  31. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2007. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," CEP Discussion Papers dp0836, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  32. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  33. Leonardo Becchetti & Riccardo Massari & Paolo Naticchioni, 2010. "Why has happiness inequality increased? Suggestions for promoting social cohesion," Working Papers 177, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  34. Bernard M.S. van Praag & P. Frijters & A. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2002. "The Anatomy of Subjective Well-being," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-022/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  35. Shiqing Jiang & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2008. "Happiness in the dual society of urban China:Hukou identity, horizontal inequality and heterogeneous reference," LICOS Discussion Papers 22308, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  36. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 246, CESifo Group Munich.
  37. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  38. Frijters, Paul & Beatton, Tony, 2012. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 525-542.
  39. Hirschman, Albert O., 1973. "The changing tolerance for income inequality in the course of economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 1(12), pages 29-36, December.
  40. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  41. Richard A. Easterlin, 2008. "Lost in Transition: Life Satisfaction on the Road to Capitalism," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 94, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  42. Bernard M. S. van Praag & Barbara E. Baarsma, 2005. "Using Happiness Surveys to Value Intangibles: The Case of Airport Noise," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 224-246, 01.
  43. Hayo, Bernd, 2007. "Happiness in transition: An empirical study on Eastern Europe," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 204-221, June.
  44. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini & Maurizio Pugno, 2007. "Did the Decline in Social Capital Decrease American Happiness? A Relational Explanation of the Happiness Paradox," Department of Economics University of Siena 513, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  45. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur Stone, 2004. "Toward National Well-Being Accounts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 429-434, May.
  46. Becchetti, Leonardo & Castriota, Stefano & Giuntella, Giovanni Osea, 2010. "The effects of age and job protection on the welfare costs of inflation and unemployment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 137-146, March.
  47. Smets, F. & Sahuc, J-G., 2007. "Differences in Interest Rate Policy at the ECB and the Fed: An Investigation with a Medium-Scale DSGE Model," Working papers 182, Banque de France.
  48. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Tasting freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 173-194, February.
  49. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  50. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
  51. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  52. Carson Richard T. & Mitchell Robert Cameron, 1995. "Sequencing and Nesting in Contingent Valuation Surveys," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 155-173, March.
  53. Corneo, Giacomo, 2002. "Work and Television," CEPR Discussion Papers 3373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  54. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2002. "Remedial Education and Student Achievement: A Regression-Discontinuity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  55. Carole Uhlaner, 1989. "“Relational goods” and participation: Incorporating sociability into a theory of rational action," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 253-285, September.
  56. Bilancini, Ennio & D'Alessandro, Simone, 2012. "Long-run welfare under externalities in consumption, leisure, and production: A case for happy degrowth vs. unhappy growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 194-205.
  57. repec:ese:iserwp:2003-19 is not listed on IDEAS
  58. Luca Corazzini & Marco Faravelli & Luca Stanca, 2007. "A Prize to Give for: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 0714, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
  59. Leonardo Becchetti, 2010. "The Money–Happiness Relationship in Transition Countries: Evidence from Albania," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 39-62, May.
  60. Beegle, Kathleen & Himelein, Kristen & Ravallion, Martin, 2009. "Frame-of-reference bias in subjective welfare regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4904, The World Bank.
  61. Paul Frijters & Ingo Geishecker & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Can the Large Swings in Russian Life Satisfaction be Explained by Ups and Downs in Real Incomes?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(3), pages 433-458, October.
  62. Rehdanz, Katrin & Maddison, David, 2005. "Climate and happiness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 111-125, January.
    • Katrin Rehdanz & David J. Maddison, 2003. "Climate and Happiness," Working Papers FNU-20, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
  63. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
  64. Olivier Blanchard, 2006. "European unemployment: the evolution of facts and ideas," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 21(45), pages 5-59, 01.
  65. Kenneth Greene & Bong Joon Yoon, 2004. "Religiosity, Economics and Life Satisfaction," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 62(2), pages 245-261.
  66. Gary S. Becker, 1994. "Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition)," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck94-1, July.
  67. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  68. Bruno S. Frey & Christine Benesch & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Does Watching TV Make Us Happy?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-15, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  69. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2008. "Endogenous growth, decline in social capital and expansion of market activities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 917-926, September.
  70. Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Castriota, 2010. "The Effects of a Calamity on Income and Wellbeing of Poor Microfinance Borrowers: The Case of the 2004 Tsunami Shock," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 211-233.
  71. Bernd Hayo & Wolfgang Seifert, 2002. "Subjective Economic Well-Being in Eastern Europe," Development and Comp Systems 0203001, EconWPA.
  72. Jevons, William Stanley, 1866. "Brief Account of a General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 29, pages 282-287.
  73. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2002. "Self-rated economic welfare in Russia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1453-1473, September.
  74. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  75. Shiv, Baba & Huber, Joel, 2000. " The Impact of Anticipating Satisfaction on Consumer Choice," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 202-16, September.
  76. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  77. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
  78. Welsch, Heinz, 2002. "Preferences over Prosperity and Pollution: Environmental Valuation Based on Happiness Surveys," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 473-94.
  79. Maddison, David & Bigano, Andrea, 2003. "The amenity value of the Italian climate," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 319-332, March.
  80. Luechinger, Simon & Raschky, Paul A., 2009. "Valuing flood disasters using the life satisfaction approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 620-633, April.
  81. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  82. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Osberg, Lars, 2003. "Nobody to Play With? The Implications of Leisure Coordination," IZA Discussion Papers 850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  83. Johannes Schwarze, 2003. "Using Panel Data on Income Satisfaction to Estimate Equivalence Scale Elasticity," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(3), pages 359-372, 09.
  84. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2002. "Environmental and social degradation as the engine of economic growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-16, November.
  85. Burda, Michael C. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Weil, Philippe, 2006. "The Distribution of Total Work in the EU and US," IZA Discussion Papers 2270, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  86. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  87. repec:pse:psecon:2008-61 is not listed on IDEAS
  88. Hirschman, Albert O & Rothschild, Michael, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic Development; with a Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-66, November.
  89. Frijters, Paul, 2000. "Do individuals try to maximize general satisfaction?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 281-304, June.
  90. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
  91. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  92. Becchetti, Leonardo & Pelloni, Alessandra & Rossetti, Fiammetta, 2007. "Sociability and Happiness," AICCON Working Papers 44-2007, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
  93. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  94. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
  95. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  96. Becchetti, Leonardo & Rossetti, Fiammetta, 2009. "When money does not buy happiness: The case of "frustrated achievers"," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 159-167, January.
  97. Easterlin, Richard A., 2008. "Lost in Transition: Life Satisfaction on the Road to Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 3409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  98. David Cobham, 2006. " Using Taylor Rules to Assess the Relative Activism of the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve Board," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0602, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:inrvec:v:60:y:2013:i:2:p:113-155. See general 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: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F Baum).

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.