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Are Happy People Ethical People? Evidence From North America And Europe

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  • James, Harvey S., Jr.
  • Chymis, Athanasios G.
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    Abstract

    We examine empirically the relationship between happiness and the ethical decisions of individuals. We use data from the 1995-97 wave of the World Values Survey (WVS) to test the hypothesis that the relationship between happiness and ethics is bicausal in the sense that personal ethics affects one's happiness while happiness also affects ethical preferences and proclivities. We find that happiness increases in ethical proclivities and that greater happiness results in improved ethical judgments, after correcting for bicausality and controlling for income and other factors.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/26034
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Missouri Columbia, Department of Agricultural Economics in its series Working Papers with number 26034.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:umcowp:26034

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    Web page: http://www.ssu.missouri.edu/agecon
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    Keywords: Institutional and Behavioral Economics;

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    1. Alois Stutzer, . "The Role of Income Aspirations in Individual Happiness," IEW - Working Papers 124, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
    3. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
    4. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 39-59, 02.
    5. Hausman, Daniel M & McPherson, Michael S, 1993. "Taking Ethics Seriously: Economics and Contemporary Moral Philosophy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 671-731, June.
    6. Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
    7. Kenny, Charles, 1999. "Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 3-25.
    8. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
    9. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Alice M. Isen, 2000. "The Effect of Affect on Economic and Strategic Decision Making," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1136, Econometric Society.
    10. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    11. Terza, Joseph V., 1987. "Estimating linear models with ordinal qualitative regressors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 275-291, March.
    12. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
    13. 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.
    14. Phelps, Charlotte D., 2001. "A clue to the paradox of happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 293-300, July.
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