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Open issues in happiness research

  • Bruno Frey

    ()

  • Jana Gallus
  • Lasse Steiner

Happiness research is one of the most vivid and fruitful parts of modern economics. The focus is on empirical findings. In contrast, theoretical work has been rather neglected. The paper deals with three areas needing more analytical work: the choice or imposition of comparison or reference groups; and the extent, speed and symmetry of adaptation to positive and negative shocks on happiness. In both areas, theoretical propositions are derived which can in the future be empirically tested. The third area relates to the political economy of happiness. Many governments intend to take the happiness index as a criterion of how successful their policies are. As a consequence, survey respondents get an incentive to misrepresent their happiness level, and governments to manipulate the aggregate happiness indicator in their favor. A country’s constitution must induce governments to carefully observe human rights, democracy, the decentralization of political decision making, and market institutions and provide people with the possibility to acquire a good education and find a suitable job. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

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Article provided by Springer in its journal International Review of Economics.

Volume (Year): 61 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 115-125

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Handle: RePEc:spr:inrvec:v:61:y:2014:i:2:p:115-125
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  1. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 4414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," NBER Working Papers 14282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2010. "Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 4850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Clark, Andrew E. & Diener, Ed & Georgellis, Yannis & Lucas, Richard E., 2006. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 2526, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2006. "Money and Mental Wellbeing : A Longitudinal Study of Medium-Sized Lottery Wins," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 754, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Hedonism and Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 437-457, December.
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  11. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  13. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2013. "Subjective Well-Being and Income: Is there any Evidence of Satiation?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4222, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Deirdre N. McCloskey & Stephen T. Ziliak, 1996. "The Standard Error of Regressions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 97-114, March.
  15. Benesch Christine & Frey Bruno S. & Stutzer Alois, 2010. "TV Channels, Self-Control and Happiness," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-35, September.
  16. Claudia Senik, 2005. "Income distribution and well-being: what can we learn from subjective data?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 43-63, 02.
  17. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Andrew J. Oswald, 2012. "Estimating the Influence of Life Satisfaction and Positive Affect on Later Income Using Sibling Fixed-Effects," CEP Discussion Papers dp1176, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  18. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
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  20. Bruno Frey & Lasse Steiner, 2012. "Glücksforschung: Eine empirische Analyse," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 9-25, December.
  21. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
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