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Hedonic capital, adaptation and resilience

  • Graham, Liam
  • Oswald, Andrew J.

The paper sets out a theory of hedonic adaptation and resilience. By distinguishing between stocks and flows of psychological resources, it suggests a new way to think about the dynamics of human well-being or 'happiness'. Central to the analysis is a concept we refer to as hedonic capital. We build on the idea that the evolutionary function of happiness is as a motivating device. Our model successfully replicates the patterns routinely found in well-being data - particularly the empirical regularity of an approximately stable level of well-being and the adaptive tendency to return towards that level. The formal model provides a number of testable empirical predictions.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167-2681(10)00134-4
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 76 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 372-384

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:76:y:2010:i:2:p:372-384
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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