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A closer look at the Easterlin Paradox

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  • Angeles, Luis

Abstract

This paper argues that increasing average incomes and stagnating levels of happiness, as observed in the United States since the 1970s, do not constitute a paradox. First, we show that the effect of higher incomes has been more than counteracted by changes in other socioeconomic variables, notably the prevalence of marriage and divorce. Second, we show that the effect of a given amount of real income on happiness has not changed between the 1970s and the early 2000s.

Suggested Citation

  • Angeles, Luis, 2011. "A closer look at the Easterlin Paradox," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 67-73, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:40:y:2011:i:1:p:67-73
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    1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
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    3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    4. David G. Blanchflower, 2009. "International Evidence on Well-Being," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 155-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Michael Hagerty & Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Wealth and Happiness Revisited – Growing National Income Does Go with Greater Happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
    6. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
    7. 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.
    8. Richard Easterlin, 2005. "Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness: A Reply to Hagerty and Veenhoven," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 429-443, December.
    9. Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
    10. Ed Diener & Ed Sandvik & Larry Seidlitz & Marissa Diener, 1993. "The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 195-223, March.
    11. Kenny, Charles, 1999. "Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 3-25.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liselot Hudders & Mario Pandelaere, 2012. "The Silver Lining of Materialism: The Impact of Luxury Consumption on Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 411-437, June.
    2. Pugno, Maurizio, 2013. "Scitovsky and the income-happiness paradox," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-10.
    3. Teresa García-Muñoz & Shoshana Neuman & Tzahi Neuman, 2014. "Subjective Health Status of the Older Population: Is It Related to Country-Specific Economic Development Measures?," Working Papers 2014-02, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    4. Roberson Édouard & Gérard Duhaime, 2013. "The Well-Being of the Canadian Arctic Inuit: The Relevant Weight of Economy in the Happiness Equations," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 373-392, August.
    5. Nguyen Trung & Kimoon Cheong & Pham Nghi & Won Kim, 2013. "Relationship Between Socio-Economic Values and Wellbeing: An Overview Research in Asia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(2), pages 453-472, April.
    6. Yew-Kwang Ng, 2011. "Happiness Is Absolute, Universal, Ultimate, Unidimensional, Cardinally Measurable and Interpersonally Comparable: A Basis for the Environmentally Responsible Happy Nation Index," Monash Economics Working Papers 16-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    7. Kalenborn, Christine & Lessmann, Christian, 2014. "Regional Income Inequality lowers Life Satisfaction: Evidence from OECD Countries," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100561, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    Keywords

    Happiness Income Easterlin Paradox;

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