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Economic Growth Evens Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys

Listed author(s):
  • Andrew E. Clark
  • Sarah Flèche
  • Claudia Senik

In spite of the great U-turn that saw income inequality rise in Western countries in the 1980s, happiness inequality has fallen in countries that have experienced income growth (but not in those that did not). Modern growth has reduced the share of both the “very unhappy” and the “perfectly happy”. Lower happiness inequality is found both between and within countries, and between and within individuals. Our cross-country regression results argue that the extension of various public goods helps to explain this greater happiness homogeneity. This new stylised fact arguably comes as a bonus to the Easterlin paradox, offering a somewhat brighter perspective for developing countries.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/roiw.12190
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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income and Wealth.

Volume (Year): 62 (2016)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 405-419

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:62:y:2016:i:3:p:405-419
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  1. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 4414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Oswald, Andrew & Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel, 2013. "Happiness and Productivity," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 108, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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  15. Indranil Dutta & James Foster, 2013. "Inequality of Happiness in the U.S.: 1972–2010," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(3), pages 393-415, 09.
  16. Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Inequality Of Happiness in Nations," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 351-355, December.
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