IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness: A Reply to Hagery and Veenhoven


  • Richard Easterlin


In a rebuttal of Easterlin (1995), Hagerty and Veenhoven (2003) hereafter H-V analyze data for 21 countries and conclude that "growing national income does go with greater happiness." But the U.S. experience does not support this conclusion, which they obtain only by mixing together two sets of noncomparable surveys. Moreover, the results of studies of European countries and the U.S. by other scholars do not support their claim either. Furthermore, the experience of 6 out of 7 of their non-European countries fails to support their claim too. Finally, if countries in their analysis with quite similar growth rates are grouped, one finds quite disparate trends in happiness, suggesting that factors other than growth in income are responsible for the differential trends in happiness. Instead of straining to feed the illusion that a focus on economic growth will create happiness, an approach is needed that explores the impact on national trends in life satisfaction, not just of material goods, but also of family life, health, work utility, and the like.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Easterlin, "undated". "Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness: A Reply to Hagery and Veenhoven," University of Southern California Legal Working Paper Series usclwps-1007, University of Southern California Law School.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:usclwp:usclwps-1007

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bep:usclwp:usclwps-1007. 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: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.