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Modern Economic Growth and Quality of Life: Cross Sectional and Time Series Evidence

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  • Easterlin, Richard A.

    ()
    (University of Southern California)

  • Angelescu McVey, Laura

    ()
    (University of Southern California)

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    Abstract

    To what extent are improvements in quality of life (material living levels, health, education, political and civil rights, happiness, and the like) associated with economic growth? International comparisons of quality of life (QoL) conditions almost always point to a strong positive association with real GDP per capita. Historical experience, however, frequently belies the results of these comparisons. More often than not the timing of various improvements in QoL, material living levels excepted, is different from that in real GDP per capita – some indicators preceding, others following. Moreover, the sequence of improvements in various aspects of QoL is not always the same from one part of the world to another. And sometimes, as in the case of happiness and life satisfaction, QoL indicators remain unchanged despite a doubling or more of real GDP per capita. In contrast to the results of simple international point-of-time comparisons, history suggests that improvements in many realms of life are not an automatic result of economic growth.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2755.

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    Length: 61 pages
    Date of creation: Apr 2007
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published in: Kenneth C. Land (ed.). Handbook of Social Indicators and Quality-of-Life Research, New York and London: Springer, 2011
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2755

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    Related research

    Keywords: quality of life; well-being; economic growth; international and historical comparisons;

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    References

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    1. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Selden, Thomas M., 1995. "Stoking the fires? CO2 emissions and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 85-101, May.
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    13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Richard Easterlin, 2005. "Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness: A Reply to Hagerty and Veenhoven," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 429-443, December.
    15. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Rehme, Günther, 2008. "Wissen und Neue Wachstumstheorie: Die Rolle von fachspezifischem Humankapital," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 35708, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).

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