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Are Happy People Ethical People? Evidence from North America and Europe

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  • Harvey S. James Jr.

    (University of Missouri)

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    Abstract

    This paper contributes to the growing literature on happiness research by examining whether happiness affects the ethical decisions of individuals. First, a recursive model of ethical decision making is developed in which an agent's utility is assumed to be a function of money, ethical decisions, and happiness, where happiness is defined as the agent's utility obtained at the end of the previous period. Second, the model is tested using data from North American and European respondents in the 1995-1997 wave of the World Values Survey. The findings suggest that happiness affects ethical judgments consistent with the recursive model.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0303004.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: 12 Mar 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0303004

    Note: Type of Document - Microsoft Word 2000; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP; pages: 24; figures: included
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    Web page: http://128.118.178.162

    Related research

    Keywords: Happiness economics; ethics; utility theory;

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    References

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    1. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    2. Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-42, October.
    3. Harvey S. James Jr. & Jeffrey Cohen, 2002. "Does Ethics Training Neutralize the Incentives of the Prisoner's Dilemma? Evidence from a Classroom Experiment," General Economics and Teaching 0202002, EconWPA, revised 12 Mar 2003.
    4. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
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    Cited by:
    1. Lubian, Diego & Zarri, Luca, 2011. "Happiness and tax morale: An empirical analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 223-243.

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