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Economic Growth Evens Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys

Listed author(s):
  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Sarah Flèche

    (Centre for Economic Performance - LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Claudia Senik

    (UP4 - Université Paris-Sorbonne, PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC))

In spite of the great U-turn that saw income inequality rise in Western countries in the 1980s, happiness inequality has fallen in countries that have experienced income growth (but not in those that did not). Modern growth has reduced the share of both the “very unhappy” and the “perfectly happy.” Lower happiness inequality is found both between and within countries, and between and within individuals. Our cross-country regression results suggest that the extension of various public goods helps to explain this greater happiness homogeneity. This new stylized fact arguably comes as a bonus to the Easterlin paradox, offering a somewhat brighter perspective for developing countries.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-01383827.

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Date of creation: Sep 2016
Publication status: Published in Review of Income and Wealth, Wiley, 2016, 62 (3), pp.405-419. <10.1111/roiw.12190>
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01383827
DOI: 10.1111/roiw.12190
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01383827
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

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  1. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  2. Detlef Landua, 1992. "An attempt to classify satisfaction changes: Methodological and content aspects of a longitudinal problem," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 221-241, May.
  3. Andrew J. Oswald & Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi, 2015. "Happiness and Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 789-822.
  4. Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Castriota & Elena Giachin Ricca, 2010. "Beyond the Joneses: inter-country income comparisons and happiness," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 82/2010, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.
  5. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  6. Lohmann, Steffen, 2013. "Information technologies and subjective well-being: Does the internet raise material aspirations?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 169, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  7. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2008. "Happiness Inequality in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3624, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0907, CEPREMAP.
  9. Frick, Joachim R. & Goebel, Jan & Schechtman, Edna & Wagner, Gert G. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2004. "Using Analysis of Gini (ANoGi) for Detecting Whether Two Sub-Samples Represent the Same Universe: The SOEP Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 1049, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
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  13. Becchetti, Leonardo & Massari, Riccardo & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2013. "The Drivers of Happiness Inequality: Suggestions for Promoting Social Cohesion," IZA Discussion Papers 7153, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative income, happiness, and utility: An explanation for the Easterlin paradox and other puzzles," Post-Print halshs-00754299, HAL.
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