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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. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 2394, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," NBER Working Papers 16396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  12. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Andrew J. Oswald, 2012. "Estimating the influence of life satisfaction and positive affect on later income using sibling fixed-effects," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51523, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. Andrew Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2003. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," DELTA Working Papers 2003-14, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  14. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
  15. Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Hedonism and Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 437-457, December.
  16. Christine Benesch & Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2006. "TV Channels, Self Control and Happiness," Working papers 2006/05, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  17. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2012. "Conspicuous consumption and satisfaction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 183-191.
  18. Reto Odermatt & Alois Stutzer, 2013. "Smoking Bans, Cigarette Prices and Life Satisfaction," Working papers 2013/07, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  19. 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.
  20. Bruno Frey & Lasse Steiner, 2012. "Glücksforschung: Eine empirische Analyse," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 9-25, December.
  21. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gall is not listed on IDEAS
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