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Adaptation or Social Comparison? The effects of income on happiness

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  • Angeles, Luis

Abstract

Two mechanisms have attracted considerable attention from researchers studying the effects of income on happiness: adaptation and social comparison. In this paper we study both mechanisms using a panel of British households. Besides dealing with the UK case in detail, the paper contributes to the literature by considering the two mecha- nisms together and testing for them both separately and jointly. Our results strongly support the existence of adaptation effects but find only weak evidence in favour of social comparison.

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File URL: http://repo.sire.ac.uk/handle/10943/136
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2010-03.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:136

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Keywords: Income and happiness; adaptation; social comparison; BHPS;

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References

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  1. 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.
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  11. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  12. Grund, Christian & Sliwka, Dirk, 2005. "Reference Dependent Preferences and the Impact of Wage Increases on Job Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1879, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  14. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  15. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
  16. Rafael Di Tella & John Haisken-De New & Robert MacCulloch, 2007. "Happiness Adaptation to Income and to Status in an Individual Panel," NBER Working Papers 13159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Andrew E. Clark, 2006. "Born to be mild? Cohort effects don't explain why well-being is U-shaped in age," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590307, HAL.
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Cited by:
  1. 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).

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