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Economía de la felicidad. Hallazgos relevantes respecto al ingreso y el bienestar

Listed author(s):
  • Rojas, Mariano

    (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Sede México y Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla)

This paper presents a survey on the Economics of Happiness; special attention is placed on recent research about the relationship between income and happiness. The paper discusses the epistemological and methodological foundations of the Economics of Happiness. It starts by mentioning the two traditional approaches in the study of well-being: the imputation approach and the presumption approach. Next, the paper explains the subjective well-being approach, which constitutes an alternative to the traditional ones. The subjective well-being approach is concerned with well-begin people experiences, and it states that the best way to know it is by directly asking people. The paper goes on with a presentation of the main findings from the Economics of Happiness on what respects to the role of income. It is shows that income plays both a needs-satisfaction and a positional-marker function; thus, relative income matters for happiness. In addition, it is explained that income-aspiration gaps and habituation processes do matter for happiness; those personal values which people use in their assessment of a happy life are also relevant for the relationship between income and happiness. Furthermore, it is shown that income may have a nil impact on some domains of life where people act as human beings and where life satisfaction comes from. The paper ends with a brief discussion of other relevant findings from the Economics of Happiness.// Este artículo presenta el estado del arte de la economía de la felicidad, con particular interés en la investigación realizada para la relación entre el ingreso y la felicidad. El artículo analiza los fundamentos epistemológicos y metodológicos de le economía de la felicidad. Se presenta los dos enfoques tradicionales en el estudio del bienestar: el de imputación y el de presunción. Luego se propone el bienestar subjetivo como otro enfoque valioso en el estudio del bienestar. El enfoque de bienestar subjetivo se interesa por el bienestar que las personas experimentan, y planea que la mejor manera para conocerlo es mediante la pregunta directa a la persona. El artículo continúa con una presentación de los principales hallazgos de la economía de la felicidad en lo referente al papel del ingreso. Se muestra que además de su función de satisfacción de necesidades el ingreso cumple una función de definición posicional para las personas; por ello, el ingreso relativo importa. También se comenta acerca de la pertinencia de la brecha aspiracional del ingreso y de los procesos de habituación al ingreso, al igual que acerca de la importancia que los valores usados por la persona para juzgar su vida tiene para la relación entre ingreso y felicidad. Se manifiesta también que el ingreso tiene una influencia muy pequeña en la satisfacción que las personas experimentan en muchos de los dominios de vida donde ejercen como seres humanos; esto explica que la relación entre ingreso y bienestar no sea estrecha. El artículo también esboza otras contribuciones de la economía de la felicidad a la disciplina económica.

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Article provided by Fondo de Cultura Económica in its journal El Trimestre Económico.

Volume (Year): LXXVI (3) (2009)
Issue (Month): 303 (julio-septiembre)
Pages: 537-573

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Handle: RePEc:elt:journl:v:76:y:2009:i:303:p:537-573
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