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How Are You, My Dearest Mozart? Well-Being and Creativity of Three Famous Composers Based on Their Letters

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  • Karol Jan Borowiecki

    (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark)

Abstract

The importance of creativity is being increasingly recognized by economists; however, the possibility that emotional factors determine creative processes is largely ignored. Building on 1,400 letters written by three famous music composers, I obtain well-being indices that span their lifetimes. The validity of this methodology is shown by linking the indices with biographical information and through estimation of the determinants of well-being. I then exploit the data and provide quantitative evidence on the existence of a causal impact of negative emotions on outstanding creativity, an association hypothesized across several disciplines since the antiquity that has not yet been convincingly established.

Suggested Citation

  • Karol Jan Borowiecki, 2017. "How Are You, My Dearest Mozart? Well-Being and Creativity of Three Famous Composers Based on Their Letters," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 591-605, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:4:p:591-605
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
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    3. Karol Jan Borowiecki, 2012. "Are composers different? Historical evidence on conflict-induced migration (1816-1997)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 270-291, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Etro, Federico & Marchesi, Silvia & Stepanova, Elena, 2020. "Liberalizing art. Evidence on the Impressionists at the end of the Paris Salon," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    2. Mahmood, Rafat & Jetter, Michael, 2019. "Military Intervention via Drone Strikes," IZA Discussion Papers 12318, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Kathryn Graddy & Carl Lieberman, 2018. "Death, Bereavement, and Creativity," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(10), pages 4505-4514, October.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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