Is Happiness Infectious?
AbstractThe paper uses an appropriate survey from rural China to answer the question: Is happiness infectious, i.e. does the happiness of an individual depend positively on the happiness of their reference group?� The evidence is consistent with this hypothesis, but the challenge is to solve the 'reflection problem', i.e. is the apparent effect of neighbours' happiness on own happiness�a causal one or merely a reflection?� A 'quasi-panel' approach is adopted, treating villages as groups and individuals as multiple observations within each group, and using an error components 2SLS estimator.� The results suggest that a major part of the relationship is indeed causal: Adam Smith's insight was correct!� The normative and policy implications are briefly considered.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 446.
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Happiness; Social interaction; Relative deprivation; China;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
- D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-09-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-CNA-2009-09-19 (China)
- NEP-HAP-2009-09-19 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-SOC-2009-09-19 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
- NEP-TRA-2009-09-19 (Transition Economics)
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