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Rising Aspirations Dampen Satisfaction

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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.
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    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
    21. 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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    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

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Colin P. Green & John S. Heywood & Parvinder Kler & Gareth Leeves, 2018. "Paradox Lost: The Disappearing Female Job Satisfaction Premium," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 56(3), pages 484-502, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Clark, Andrew E. & Lee, Tom, 2021. "Early-life correlates of later-life well-being: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 360-368.
    4. Martin Binder, 2016. "Revisiting Cheerful Jane and Miserable John: the impact of income, good health, social contacts and education declines with increasing subjective well-being," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(8), pages 544-553, May.
    5. Warn N. Lekfuangfu & Reto Odermatt, 2020. "All I have to do is dream? The role of aspirations in intergenerational mobility and well-being," PIER Discussion Papers 142, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised Jul 2020.
    6. Maryam Dilmaghani, 2019. "Sexual orientation and the ‘cohabitation gap’ in life satisfaction in Canada," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1163-1189, December.
    7. Kristoffersen, Ingebjørg, 2018. "Great expectations: Education and subjective wellbeing," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 64-78.
    8. Clark, Andrew E. & Lee, Tom, 2021. "Early-life correlates of later-life well-being: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 360-368.
    9. Jeremy Heald & Erick Trevi~no Aguilar, 2020. "Does Subjective Well-being Contribute to Our Understanding of Mexican Well-being?," Papers 2004.11420, arXiv.org.
    10. Brunello, Giorgio, 2020. "Happier with Vocational Education?," IZA Discussion Papers 13739, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    education; satisfaction; aspirations; income;
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