The paradox of happiness: towards an alternative explanation
ABSTRACT There is a common empirical finding in many countries that substantial increases in real per capita income do not correspond to equivalent increases of individual happiness. These findings have puzzled many economists that some have called the “paradox of happiness”. There have been a number of explanations regarding this paradox. This paper attempts to tackle the paradox of happiness by employing the idea of hierarchical choice. The hierarchical approach implies that there are some basic human needs which must be satisfied before non-basic needs come into the picture. The paper argues that the hierarchical structure of needs implies that the satisfaction of basic needs provides substantial increases to individual happiness compared to the subsequent satisfaction of secondary needs. This might also be an alternative explanation of empirical findings showing a positive relationship between income and happiness up to certain level of income.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 9 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/content/1389-4978|
|Order Information:||Web: http://link.springer.de/orders.htm|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1994.
"Satisfaction and comparison income,"
CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange)
- Lommerud, K.E., 1988.
"Educational Subsidies When Relative Income Matters,"
05-88, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
- Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1989. "Educational Subsidies When Relative Income Matters," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 640-52, July.
- Drakopoulos, S A, 1992. "Psychological Thresholds, Demand and Price Rigidity," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 60(2), pages 152-68, June.
- Christian Bjornskov, 2003. "The Happy Few: Cross--Country Evidence on Social Capital and Life Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 3-16, February.
- Luigino Bruni, 2004. "The 'Happiness transformation problem' in the Cambridge tradition," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 433-451.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, .
"Happiness, Economy and Institutions,"
IEW - Working Papers
015, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- 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.
- Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Canova, Luigina & Rattazzi, Anna Maria Manganelli & Webley, Paul, 2005. "The hierarchical structure of saving motives," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 21-34, February.
- Oswald, A.J., 1997.
"Happiness and Economic Performance,"
18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
- Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Lluch, Constantino, 1973. "The extended linear expenditure system," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 21-32, April.
- Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004.
"How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
- Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001.
"Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA,"
The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS)
616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Scott, Anthony, 2002. "Identifying and analysing dominant preferences in discrete choice experiments: An application in health care," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 383-398, June.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, .
"What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?,"
IEW - Working Papers
080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
- Lavoie, Marc, 2004. "Post Keynesian consumer theory: Potential synergies with consumer research and economic psychology," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 639-649, October.
- Jackson, Tim & Marks, Nic, 1999. "Consumption, sustainable welfare and human needs--with reference to UK expenditure patterns between 1954 and 1994," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 421-441, March.
- Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Sousa-Poza, Andres A, 2000. "Taking Another Look at the Gender/Job-Satisfaction Paradox," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 135-52.
- Drakopoulos, S. A. & Theodossiou, I., 1997. "Job satisfaction and target earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 693-704, November.
- Helliwell, John F., 2003.
"How's life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being,"
Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 331-360, March.
- John F. Helliwell, 2002. "How's Life? Combining Individual and National Variables to Explain Subjective Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 9065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
- Stravos Drakopoulos & Anastasios Karayiannis, 2007. "Human Needs Hierarchy and Happiness: Evidence from the Late Pre-Classical and Classical Economics," Chapters, in: Handbook on the Economics of Happiness, chapter 3 Edward Elgar.
- Drakopoulos, S. A. & Karayiannis, A. D., 2004. "The Historical Development of Hierarchical Behavior in Economic Thought," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(03), pages 363-378, September.
- Robert Biswas-Diener & Ed Diener, 2001. "Making the Best of a Bad Situation: Satisfaction in the Slums of Calcutta," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 329-352, September.
- Thiele, S. & Weiss, C., 2003. "Consumer demand for food diversity: evidence for Germany," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 99-115, April.
- Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
- Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
- Drakopoulos, S A, 1994. " Hierarchical Choice in Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 133-53, June.
- Frank, Robert H, 1997. "The Frame of Reference as a Public Good," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1832-47, November.
- Ger, Guliz & Belk, Russell W., 1996. "Cross-cultural differences in materialism," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 55-77, February.
- Phelps, Charlotte D., 2001. "A clue to the paradox of happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 293-300, July.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
- Robert Cummins, 2003. "Normative Life Satisfaction: Measurement Issues and a Homeostatic Model," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 64(2), pages 225-256, November.
- Kenny, Charles, 1999. "Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 3-25.
- J.J. Ehrhardt & W.E. Saris & R. Veenhoven, 2000. "Stability of Life-satisfaction over Time," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 177-205, June.
- Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
- Maurizio Pugno, 2005. "The happiness paradox: a formal explanation from psycho-economics," Department of Economics Working Papers 0501, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
- Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:9:y:2008:i:2:p:303-315. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn)or (Christopher F Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.