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Rising Aspirations Dampen Satisfaction

Author

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  • Clark, Andrew E.
  • Kamesaka, Akiko
  • Tamura, Teruyuki

Abstract

It is commonly-believed that education is a good thing for individuals. Yet its correlation with subjective well-being is most often only weakly positive, or even negative, despite the many associated better individual-level outcomes We here square the circle using novel Japanese data on happiness aspirations. If reported happiness comes from a comparison of outcomes to aspirations, then any phenomenon raising both at the same time will have only a muted effect on reported well-being. We find that around half of the happiness effect of education is cancelled out by higher aspirations, and suggest a similar dampening effect for income.

Suggested Citation

  • Clark, Andrew E. & Kamesaka, Akiko & Tamura, Teruyuki, 2015. "Rising Aspirations Dampen Satisfaction," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1507, CEPREMAP.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:1507
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McBride, Michael, 2010. "Money, happiness, and aspirations: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 262-276, June.
    2. H. Okudaira & M. Takizawa & K. Tsuru, 2013. "Employment protection and productivity: evidence from firm-level panel data in Japan," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(15), pages 2091-2105, May.
    3. 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, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Clark, Andrew E., 1999. "Are wages habit-forming? evidence from micro data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 179-200, June.
    6. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    7. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    8. Van Praag, Bernard, 1971. "The welfare function of income in Belgium: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 337-369.
    9. Schwandt, Hannes, 2016. "Unmet aspirations as an explanation for the age U-shape in wellbeing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 75-87.
    10. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    11. Anthea Long, 2005. "Happily Ever After? A Study of Job Satisfaction in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(255), pages 303-321, December.
    12. Abdallah, Saamah & Thompson, Sam & Marks, Nic, 2008. "Estimating worldwide life satisfaction," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 35-47, March.
    13. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Priceless: The Nonpecuniary Benefits of Schooling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 159-184, Winter.
    14. Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Sousa-Poza, Andres A., 2000. "Well-being at work: a cross-national analysis of the levels and determinants of job satisfaction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 517-538, November.
    15. Richard Florida & Charlotta Mellander & Peter J. Rentfrow, 2013. "The Happiness of Cities," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(4), pages 613-627, April.
    16. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
    17. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2213-2229, December.
    18. Van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Kapteyn, Arie, 1973. "Further evidence on the individual welfare function of income: An empirical investigatiion in The Netherlands," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 33-62, April.
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    20. Juncal Cuñado & Fernando Gracia, 2012. "Does Education Affect Happiness? Evidence for Spain," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 185-196, August.
    21. Binder, Martin & Coad, Alex, 2011. "From Average Joe's happiness to Miserable Jane and Cheerful John: using quantile regressions to analyze the full subjective well-being distribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 275-290, August.
    22. Andrew Clark & Claudia Senik & Katsunori Yamada, 2013. "The Joneses in Japan: Income Comparisons and Financial Satisfaction," ISER Discussion Paper 0866, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Random thoughts on happiness: how to be happy?
      by noname in ZeeConomics on 2015-07-22 13:16:39
    2. Rising Aspirations Dampen Satisfaction By: Clark, Andrew E. ; Kamesaka, Akiko ; Tamura, Teruyuki
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2015-07-30 22:28:00

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:soceco:v:70:y:2017:i:c:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andrew E. Clark & Tom Lee, 2017. "Early-life correlates of later-life well-being: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study," PSE Working Papers halshs-01570052, HAL.
    3. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia & Yamada, Katsunori, 2017. "When experienced and decision utility concur: The case of income comparisons," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 1-9.
    4. repec:eee:joepsy:v:66:y:2018:i:c:p:64-78 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    education; satisfaction; aspirations; income;

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