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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. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2003. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 371, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2012. "Conspicuous consumption and satisfaction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 183-191.
  5. 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.
  6. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2013. "Subjective Well-Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation?," CAMA Working Papers 2013-21, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  7. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2006. "Does Happiness Adapt? A Longitudinal Study of Disability with Implications for Economists and Judges," IZA Discussion Papers 2208, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. 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.
  10. Card, David & Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico & Saez, Emmanuel, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt48z7z9dn, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  11. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  12. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being," Working papers 2010/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  13. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  14. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Money and mental wellbeing: A longitudinal study of medium-sized lottery wins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 49-60, January.
  15. 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.
  16. Christine Benesch & Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2006. "TV Channels, Self Control and Happiness," IEW - Working Papers 301, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  17. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gall is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2009. "Who compares to whom? The anatomy of income comparisons in Europe," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586036, HAL.
  19. Bruno Frey & Lasse Steiner, 2012. "Glücksforschung: Eine empirische Analyse," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 9-25, December.
  20. 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.
  21. Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Hedonism and Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 437-457, December.
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