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Happiness of economists

Author

Listed:
  • Lars P. Feld
  • Sarah Necker
  • Bruno S. Frey

Abstract

We study the importance of economists' professional situation towards their life satisfaction based on a unique survey of mostly academic economists. On average, economists report to be highly happy with life. Satisfaction is positively related to spending more time on doing research. The lack of a tenured position decreases satisfaction. However, the extent to which the uncertainty created by the tenure system affects satisfaction varies with the contract terms. The effect is stronger if the contract expires in the near future or cannot be extended. Publication success has no effect if it is controlled for academic rank and the contract duration. The finding suggests that publications are rather a means to an end, for example, to acquire a tenured position. While the perceived level of external pressure also has no impact, the perceived change of pressure in recent years is positively related to economists' life satisfaction. An explanation is that economists have accepted a high level of pressure when entering academia but are not willing to cope with the recent increase.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars P. Feld & Sarah Necker & Bruno S. Frey, 2015. "Happiness of economists," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(10), pages 990-1007, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:47:y:2015:i:10:p:990-1007
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2014.985374
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Schwarze & Rainer Winkelmann, 2005. "What can happiness research tell us about altruism? Evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," SOI - Working Papers 0503, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Sep 2005.
    2. Jörg Döpke & Ulrich Fritsche & Gabi Waldhof, 2017. "Theories, techniques and the formation of German business cycle forecasts: Evidence from a survey among professional forecasters," Working Papers 2017-002, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.
    3. Ferrari, Filippo, 2011. "Chronically dissatisfied: work characteristics, personal expectations and job satisfaction: empirical evidence in young italian workers," MPRA Paper 27993, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Benoît LE MAUX & Sarah NECKER & Yvon ROCABOY, 2016. "Cheat or Perish? A Theory of Scientific Customs," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2016-03-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
    5. Benno Torgler & Friedrich Schneider & Christoph Schaltegger, 2010. "Local autonomy, tax morale, and the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 293-321, July.
    6. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    7. Funk, Matt, 2008. "On the Problem of Sustainable Economic Development: A Theoretical Solution to this Prisoner's Dilemma," MPRA Paper 19025, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Jun 2008.
    8. Castellani, Marco & Di Giovinazzo, Viviana & Novarese, Marco, 2010. "Procedural rationality and happiness," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 376-383, June.
    9. Weichenrieder, Alfons J. & Zehner, Danilo, 2013. "Einschätzungen zu Promotion und Postdoktorandenzeit – Ergebnisse einer Umfrage unter Mitgliedern des Vereins für Socialpolitik
      [Young Economist's Views on Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Experiences – R
      ," MPRA Paper 53640, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Neri, Marcelo Côrtes, 2008. "A perceived human development index," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 687, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    11. Jörg Döpke & Ulrich Fritsche & Gabi Waldhof, 2017. "Theories, techniques and the formation of German business cycle forecasts: Evidence from a survey of professional forecasters," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201701, University of Hamburg, Department of Socioeconomics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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