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The Great Happiness Moderation

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  • Andrew E. Clark

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA)

  • Sarah Flèche

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA))

  • Claudia Senik

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), UP4 - Université Paris 4, Paris-Sorbonne - Université Paris IV - Paris Sorbonne - Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique)

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 HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00707290.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00707290

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Keywords: Happiness ; Inequality ; Economic growth ; Development ; Easterlin paradox;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. On happiness inequality
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-07-02 13:33:03
  2. The Great Happiness Moderation
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2012-10-01 14:00:38
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Cited by:
  1. Raluca I. Iorgulescu, 2014. "Modelling in happiness economics," Global Economic Observer, "Nicolae Titulescu" University of Bucharest, Faculty of Economic Sciences & Institute for World Economy of the Romanian Academy, vol. 2(1), pages 35-41, June.

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