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Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?


  • Kenny, Charles


Taking lessons from a conception of the nature and causes of happiness that harks back to Adam Smith and the original Utilitarians, this paper argues that increases in absolute income should have little effect on happiness in rich countries and that there might instead be channels linking happiness causally with growth. Using time series evidence from happiness polls in ten wealthy countries, the paper finds no support for a causal link from growth to happiness, weak support for a reverse causation, and further (weak) support for links between national equality and happiness and leisure time and happiness. Copyright 1999 by WWZ and Helbing & Lichtenhahn Verlag AG

Suggested Citation

  • Kenny, Charles, 1999. "Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 3-25.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:52:y:1999:i:1:p:3-25

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    References listed on IDEAS

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