Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

How are Income and Non-Income Factors Different in Promoting Happiness? An Answer to the Easterlin Paradox

Contents:

Author Info

  • Tian, Guoqiang
  • Yang, Liyan

Abstract

This paper develops a formal economic theory to explain the Easterlin paradox-average happiness levels do not necessarily increase as countries grow wealthier. The theory analyzes the different roles of income and non-income factors in promoting people's happiness, and provides a foundation for studying happiness from the perspectives of social welfare maximization and individuals' self-interested rationality. It is shown that, for a certain class of economies, whether Easterlin paradox appears depends on the level of non-income factors. Happiness rises with income only up to a critical point that is determined by the level of the non-income factors; but once the critical income level is achieved, raising income further will lead to Pareto ineffcient allocations and decrease people's happiness. One policy implication is that government should promote a balanced growth between income and non-income factors. The empirical analysis provides some preliminary evidence consistent with the theory's predictions.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/41209/
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 41209.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision: Mar 2010
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:41209

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Easterlin Paradox; Happiness; Social Comparison; Pareto Optimality;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Ng, Yew-Kwang & Wang, Jianguo, 1993. "Relative income, aspiration, environmental quality, individual and political myopia : Why may the rat-race for material growth be welfare-reducing?," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 3-23, July.
  2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," NBER Working Papers 14282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By force of habit: a consumption-based explanation of aggregate stock market behavior," Working Papers 94-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Cooper, Ben & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Funk, Peter, 2001. "Status Effects and Negative Utility Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 642-65, July.
  5. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  6. Siang Ng & Yew-Kwang Ng, 2001. "Welfare-reducing growth despite individual and government optimization," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 497-506.
  7. F J Anscombe & R J Aumann, 2000. "A Definition of Subjective Probability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7591, David K. Levine.
  8. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  9. Vostroknutov, Alexander, 2007. "Preferences over Consumption and Status," MPRA Paper 2594, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2007.
  10. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
  11. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  12. Yew-Kwang Ng, 2003. "From preference to happiness: Towards a more complete welfare economics," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 307-350, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:41209. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.