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Homeostasis and Well Being

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  • John Malcolm Dowling

    ()
    (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

  • Yap Chin Fang

    ()
    (Tampines Junior College, Singapore)

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    Abstract

    The paper suggests that maintenance of a homeostatic equilibrium provides a rationale for many actions of economic agents. Homeostatic equilibrium has physical, economic, emotional, psychological and environmental dimensions. The characteristics of this equilibrium include feelings of safety, trust, connectedness with friends, family and community, and a predictable and welcoming social and work environment. Individuals generally make decisions that help them move toward and achieve this state of equilibrium. Departure from homeostasis reduces well being and stimulates agents to take actions that will return them to a state of homeostasis. This hypothesis is tested with probit analysis using sample responses from the four waves of the World Values Surveys conducted between 1980 and 2002. Results generally support the homeostasis hypothesis. Variables that reflect departure from homeostasis such as divorce and poor health are highly significant, pointing to a reduction in well being. Variables that reflect the importance of friends, family, a trusting social and work environment have significant impacts to raise well being.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 09-2006.

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    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2006
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
    Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:09-2006

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    1. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 1999. "The macroeconomics of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gibson, Barbara E. & Secker, Barbara & Rolfe, Debbie & Wagner, Frank & Parke, Bob & Mistry, Bhavnita, 2012. "Disability and dignity-enabling home environments," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 211-219.

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