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Income, working hours, and happiness


  • Pouwels, Babette
  • Siegers, Jacques
  • Vlasblom, Jan Dirk


In empirical analyses, the effect of income on happiness tends to be underestimated by ignoring the fact that income has to be earned. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel, our analysis confirms this tendency. For men, the underestimation amounts to 25%.

Suggested Citation

  • Pouwels, Babette & Siegers, Jacques & Vlasblom, Jan Dirk, 2008. "Income, working hours, and happiness," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 72-74, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:99:y:2008:i:1:p:72-74

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto F. Alesina & Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 1-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alison L. Booth & Jan C. Van Ours, 2009. "Hours of Work and Gender Identity: Does Part-time Work Make the Family Happier?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(301), pages 176-196, February.
    3. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter H Van Der Meer & Rudi Wielers, 2011. "What makes workers happy?," Post-Print hal-00734530, HAL.
    2. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier B. & Giulietti, Corrado & Robalino, Juan D. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2016. "Remittances and relative concerns in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 191-207.
    3. Sequeira, Tiago & Minas, Tiago & Ferreira-Lopes, Alexandra, 2014. "Do Large Governments Decrease Happiness?," MPRA Paper 54418, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Homann, Malte & Jensen, Uwe, 2013. "Does better education cause higher income?," HWWI Research Papers 145, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    5. Tatiana Karabchuk, 2016. "The subjective well-being of women in Europe: children, work and employment protection legislation," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 15(2), pages 219-245, November.
    6. repec:spr:ariqol:v:12:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11482-016-9471-x is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Rubia R. Valente & Brian J. L. Berry, 2016. "Working Hours and Life Satisfaction: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Latin America and the United States," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 1173-1204, June.
    8. Hideyuki Mizobuchi, 2017. "Measuring Socio-economic Factors and Sensitivity of Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 463-504, April.
    9. Steffen Rätzel, 2009. "Revisiting the neoclassical theory of labour supply – Disutility of labour, working hours, and happiness," FEMM Working Papers 09005, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    10. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:231-244 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Vinod Mishra & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth, 2010. "Relative Income, Temporary Life Shocks and Subjective Wellbeing in the Long-run," Monash Economics Working Papers 51-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    12. Gerritsen, Aart, 2016. "Optimal taxation when people do not maximize well-being," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 122-139.
    13. Joshua C. Hall & Brad R. Humphreys & Jane E. Ruseski, 2015. "Economic Freedom and Participation in Physical Activity," Working Papers 15-17, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    14. Robert Rudolf, 2014. "Work Shorter, Be Happier? Longitudinal Evidence from the Korean Five-Day Working Policy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 1139-1163, October.
    15. Knabe, Andreas & Rätzel, Steffen, 2010. "Income, happiness, and the disutility of labour," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 77-79, April.
    16. Jagodzinski Wolfgang, 2011. "Autonomy, religiosity and national identification as determinants of life satisfaction: A theoretical and empirical model and its application to Japan," Contemporary Japan, De Gruyter, vol. 23(1), pages 93-127, January.
    17. Mohanty, Madhu S. & Ullah, Aman, 2012. "Direct and indirect effects of happiness on wage: A simultaneous equations approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 143-152.
    18. Jiayuan Li, 2016. "Why Economic Growth did not Translate into Increased Happiness: Preliminary Results of a Multilevel Modeling of Happiness in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 241-263, August.
    19. Maria Pereira & Filipe Coelho, 2013. "Work Hours and Well Being: An Investigation of Moderator Effects," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 235-253, March.
    20. Jiayuan Li & John Raine, 2014. "The Time Trend of Life Satisfaction in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 409-427, April.
    21. Stefanie Schurer & Jongsay Yong, 2010. "Personality, Well-being and Heterogeneous Valuations of Income and Work," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2010n14, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    22. repec:spr:jhappi:v:18:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9775-4 is not listed on IDEAS

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