Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness
AbstractWe model happiness as a measurement tool used to rank alternative actions. Evolution favors a happiness function that measures the individualâ€™s success in relative terms. The optimal function is based on a time-varying reference pointâ€”or performance benchmarkâ€”that is updated over time in a statistically optimal way in order to match the individualâ€™s potential. Habits and peer comparisons arise as special cases of such an updating process. This updating also results in a volatile level of happiness that continuously reverts to its long-term mean. Throughout, we draw a parallel with a problem of optimal incentives, which allows us to apply statistical insights from agency theory to the study of happiness.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.
Volume (Year): 115 (2007)
Issue (Month): ()
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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/
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