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The Easterlin illusion: economic growth does go with greater happiness

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  • Veenhoven, Ruut
  • Vergunst, Floris

Abstract

The 'Easterlin Paradox' holds that economic growth in nations does not buy greater happiness for the average citizen. This thesis was advanced in the 1970s on the basis of the then available data on happiness in nations. Later data have disproved most of the empirical claims behind the thesis, but Easterlin still maintains that there is no long-term correlation between economic growth and happiness. This last claim was tested using the time trend data available in the World Database of Happiness, which involve 1531 data points in 67 nations that yield 199 time-series ranging from 10 to more than 40 years. The analysis reveals a positive correlation between GDP growth and rise of in happiness in nations. Both GDP and happiness have gone up in most nations, and average happiness has risen more in nations where the economy has grown the most; r =+0.21 p

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 43983.

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Date of creation: 23 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43983

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Keywords: happiness; economic growth; Easterlin Paradox; trend analysis;

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References

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  1. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
  3. Easterlin, Richard A. & Angelescu McVey, Laura, 2009. "Happiness and Growth the World Over: Time Series Evidence on the Happiness-Income Paradox," IZA Discussion Papers 4060, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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.
  5. Easterlin, Richard A. & Angelescu McVey, Laura & Switek, Malgorzata & Sawangfa, Onnicha & Zweig, Jacqueline Smith, 2011. "The Happiness-Income Paradox Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 5799, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Apparent Quality-of-Life in Nations: How Long and Happy People Live," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 61-86, 03.
  7. Phelps, Charlotte D., 2001. "A clue to the paradox of happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 293-300, July.
  8. Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," IZA Discussion Papers 2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Christian Bjørnskov & Nabanita Gupta & Peder Pedersen, 2008. "Analysing trends in subjective well-being in 15 European countries, 1973–2002," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 317-330, June.
  10. Michael Hagerty & Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Wealth and Happiness Revisited – Growing National Income Does Go with Greater Happiness," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
  11. Van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Kapteyn, Arie, 1973. "Further evidence on the individual welfare function of income: An empirical investigatiion in The Netherlands," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 33-62, April.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Happiness vs options
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-27 13:18:59
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Cited by:
  1. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Stutzer, Alois, 2014. "Economic Approaches to Understanding Change in Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 8131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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