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The key determinants of happiness and misery

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Sarah Flèche

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

  • Nick Powdthavee
  • George Ward

    (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

Abstract

Understanding the key determinants of people's life satisfaction will suggest policies for how best to reduce misery and promote wellbeing. This paper provides evidence from survey data on USA, Australia, Britain and Indonesia, which indicate that the things that matter most are people's social relationships and their mental and physical health. These adult factors affecting happiness are influenced in turn by the pattern of child development: the best predictor of an adult's life satisfaction is their emotional health as a child. These results call for a new focus for public policy - not "wealth-creation" but "wellbeing-creation".
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Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Nick Powdthavee & George Ward, 2017. "The key determinants of happiness and misery," Post-Print halshs-01513376, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01513376
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01513376
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 720-738, November.
    2. 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.
    3. George Ward, 2015. "Is Happiness a Predictor of Election Results?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1343, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Andrew E. Clark & Richard Layard & Claudia Senik, 2012. "The causes of happiness and misery," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00846583, HAL.
    5. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 720-738, November.
    6. Richard Layard & Andrew E. Clark & Francesca Cornaglia & Nattavudh Powdthavee & James Vernoit, 2014. "What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life‐course Model of Well‐being," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 720-738, November.
    7. Ward, George, 2015. "Is happiness a predictor of election results?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 61698, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    Cited by:

    1. Smith, P., 2019. "Can a Strong Economic Case Be Made for Investing in the NHS?," Monographs, Office of Health Economics, number 002090, January.
    2. Ravallion, Martin, 2019. "Global inequality when unequal countries create unequal people," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 85-97.
    3. Guriev, Sergei & Melnikov, Nikita, 2018. "Happiness convergence in transition countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 683-707.
    4. Rafael Domínguez & Borja López-Noval, 0. "Religiosity and Life Satisfaction Across Countries: New Insights from the Self-Determination Theory," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-24.
    5. Strulik, Holger, 2019. "An economic theory of depression and its impact on health behavior and longevity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 269-287.
    6. Francesco Sarracino, 2018. "Koutsobinas, Theodore.: The political economy of status: Superstars, markets and culture change. 264pp. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, 2014. Hardback, $${\pounds }$$ £ 80," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 124(2), pages 207-211, June.
    7. Jacek Rothert & Douglas VanDerwerken & Ethan White, 2020. "Socioeconomic factors and happiness: evidence from self-reported mental health data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(6), pages 3101-3123, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    happiness; misery;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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