IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The paradox of happiness: towards an alternative explanation

  • Stavros Drakopoulos

    ()

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.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10902-007-9054-5
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.

Volume (Year): 9 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 303-315

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:9:y:2008:i:2:p:303-315
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.:

as in new window
  1. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1994. "Satisfaction and comparison income," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9408, CEPREMAP.
  2. Lommerud, K.E., 1988. "Educational Subsidies When Relative Income Matters," Papers 05-88, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," IEW - Working Papers 015, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  10. Lluch, Constantino, 1973. "The extended linear expenditure system," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 21-32, April.
  11. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Drakopoulos, S. A. & Theodossiou, I., 1997. "Job satisfaction and target earnings," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 693-704, November.
  19. Helliwell, John F., 2003. "How's life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 331-360, March.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Thiele, S. & Weiss, C., 2003. "Consumer demand for food diversity: evidence for Germany," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 99-115, April.
  25. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
  26. Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
  27. Drakopoulos, S A, 1994. " Hierarchical Choice in Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 133-53, June.
  28. Frank, Robert H, 1997. "The Frame of Reference as a Public Good," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1832-47, November.
  29. Ger, Guliz & Belk, Russell W., 1996. "Cross-cultural differences in materialism," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 55-77, February.
  30. Phelps, Charlotte D., 2001. "A clue to the paradox of happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 293-300, July.
  31. 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.
  32. Robert Cummins, 2003. "Normative Life Satisfaction: Measurement Issues and a Homeostatic Model," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 64(2), pages 225-256, November.
  33. Kenny, Charles, 1999. "Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 3-25.
  34. 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.
  35. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

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 you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.