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Preferences, income, and life satisfaction: An equivalence result

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  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

In this paper I investigate the nexus between life time utility (life satisfaction) and income predicted by the standard model of endogenous economic growth under different behavioral assumptions. The solution rationalizes why the empirical association between income and life satisfaction is approximately log-linear. I show that the solution is observationally equivalent when individuals compare their consumption (i) with others, (ii) with their own past consumption achievements, and (iii) not at all (ordinary preferences). This finding suggests that the observed slope of the income–life satisfaction curve is uninformative about the presence and strength of habits or reference-dependent utility.

Suggested Citation

  • Strulik, Holger, 2015. "Preferences, income, and life satisfaction: An equivalence result," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 20-26.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:matsoc:v:75:y:2015:i:c:p:20-26
    DOI: 10.1016/j.mathsocsci.2015.02.003
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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