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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. & 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).
  2. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2012. "Conspicuous consumption and satisfaction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 183-191.
  3. Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Hedonism and Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 437-457, December.
  4. 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.
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  6. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2013. "Subjective Well‐Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation?," IZA Discussion Papers 7353, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gall is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0907, CEPREMAP.
  9. De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel & Oswald, Andrew J., 2012. "Estimating the Influence of Life Satisfaction and Positive Affect on Later Income Using Sibling Fixed-Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 7033, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. 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.
  11. David Card & Alex Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," Working Papers 1269, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  12. Odermatt, Reto & Stutzer, Alois, 2014. "Smoking Bans, Cigarette Prices and Life Satisfaction," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100559, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  13. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," IZA Discussion Papers 3654, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  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. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  18. 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.
  19. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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.
  22. Bruno Frey & Lasse Steiner, 2012. "Glücksforschung: Eine empirische Analyse," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 9-25, December.
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