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The Great Happiness Moderation

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  • Andrew E. Clark
  • Sarah Flèche
  • Claudia Senik

Abstract

This paper shows that within-country happiness inequality has fallen in the majority of countries that have experienced positive income growth over the last forty years, in particular in developed countries. This new stylized fact comes as an addition to the Easterlin paradox, which states that the time trend in average happiness is flat during episodes of long-run income growth. This mean-preserving declining spread in happiness comes about via falls in both the share of individuals who declare low and high levels of happiness. Rising income inequality moderates the fall in happiness inequality, and may even reverse it after some point, for example in the US starting in the 1990s. Hence, if raising the income of all does not raise the happiness of all, it will at least harmonize the happiness of all, providing that income inequality does not grow too much. Behind the veil of ignorance, lower happiness inequality would certainly be considered as attractive by risk-averse individuals.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 468.

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Length: 51 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp468

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Keywords: Happiness; inequality; economic growth; development; Easterlin paradox;

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References

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The Great Happiness Moderation
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2012-10-01 14:00:38
  2. On happiness inequality
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-07-02 13:33:03
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Cited by:
  1. Raluca I. Iorgulescu, 2014. "Modelling in happiness economics," Computational Methods in Social Sciences (CMSS), "Nicolae Titulescu" University of Bucharest, Faculty of Economic Sciences, "Nicolae Titulescu" University of Bucharest, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 2(1), pages 35-41, June.
  2. repec:ntu:ntugeo:vol2-iss1-14-035 is not listed on IDEAS

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