Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness
We model happiness as a measurement tool used to rank alternative actions. Evolution favors a happiness function that measures the individualâ€™s success in relative terms. The optimal function is based on a time-varying reference pointâ€”or performance benchmarkâ€”that is updated over time in a statistically optimal way in order to match the individualâ€™s potential. Habits and peer comparisons arise as special cases of such an updating process. This updating also results in a volatile level of happiness that continuously reverts to its long-term mean. Throughout, we draw a parallel with a problem of optimal incentives, which allows us to apply statistical insights from agency theory to the study of happiness.
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- Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996.
"Satisfaction and comparison income,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
- Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1993. "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 10018, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
- Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1994. "Satisfaction and comparison income," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9408, CEPREMAP.
- Ken Binmore, 1994. "Game Theory and the Social Contract, Volume 1: Playing Fair," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262023636, January. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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