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Subjective Well-Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation?

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  • Betsey Stevenson
  • Justin Wolfers

Abstract

Many scholars have argued that once "basic needs" have been met, higher income is no longer associated with higher in subjective well-being. We assess the validity of this claim in comparisons of both rich and poor countries, and also of rich and poor people within a country. Analyzing multiple datasets, multiple definitions of "basic needs" and multiple questions about well-being, we find no support for this claim. The relationship between well-being and income is roughly linear-log and does not diminish as incomes rise. If there is a satiation point, we are yet to reach it.

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File URL: http://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/working-papers/2013/212013.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series CAMA Working Papers with number 2013-21.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2013-21

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Related research

Keywords: Subjective well-being; happiness; satiation; basic needs; Easterlin paradox;

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  1. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2008. "Happiness Adaptation to Income beyond "Basic Needs"," NBER Working Papers 14539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pablo Gluzmann, 2013. "Bienestar subjetivo y crecimiento económico: analizando la paradoja del crecimiento infeliz en la Encuesta Mundial Gallup," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0152, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  2. Beja Jr., Edsel, 2013. "Does economic prosperity bring about a happier society? Empirical remarks on the Easterlin Paradox debate sans Happiness Adaptation," MPRA Paper 50633, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Beja Jr, Edsel, 2013. "Does economic prosperity bring about a happier society? Mathematical remarks on the Easterlin Paradox debate," MPRA Paper 48229, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Strulik, Holger, 2013. "How status concerns can make us rich and happy," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 170, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  5. Pritchett, Lant & Kenny, Charles, 2013. "Promoting Millennium Development Ideals: The Risks of Defining Development Down," Working Paper Series rwp13-033, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Tamas Hajdu & Gabor Hajdu, 2013. "Are more equal societies happier? Subjective well-being, income inequality, and redistribution," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1320, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  7. Lant Pritchett, Charles Kenny, 2013. "Promoting Millennium Development Ideals: The Risks of Defining Development Down-Working Paper 338," Working Papers 338, Center for Global Development.
  8. Dorsett, Richard & Oswald, Andrew J., 2014. "Human well-being and in-work benefits: A randomized controlled trial," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 182, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  9. Chrostek, Pawel, 2013. "An empirical investigation into the determinants and persistence of happiness and life evaluation," MPRA Paper 50442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Dorsett, Richard & Oswald, Andrew J, 2014. "Human Well-Being And In-Work Benefits: A Randomized Controlled Trial," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1038, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  11. Beja Jr., Edsel, 2013. "Does economic prosperity bring about a happier society? Empirical remarks on the Easterlin Paradox debate," MPRA Paper 49446, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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