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Rising Aspirations Dampen Satisfaction

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  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - 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)

  • Akiko Kamesaka

    (AGU - Aoyama Gakuin University, ESRIN - European Space Research Institute - ESA - European Space Agency)

  • Teruyuki Tamura

    (Sophia University - Sophia University)

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

  • Andrew E. Clark & Akiko Kamesaka & Teruyuki Tamura, 2015. "Rising Aspirations Dampen Satisfaction," PSE Working Papers halshs-01122749, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-01122749
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01122749
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    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. 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.
    4. McBride, Michael, 2010. "Money, happiness, and aspirations: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 262-276, June.
    5. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    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. Richard Florida & Charlotta Mellander & Peter J. Rentfrow, 2013. "The Happiness of Cities," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(4), pages 613-627, April.
    8. Ruut Veenhoven, 1996. "Developments in satisfaction-research," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 1-46, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    11. 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.
    12. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Van Praag, Bernard, 1971. "The welfare function of income in Belgium: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 337-369.
    16. Abdallah, Saamah & Thompson, Sam & Marks, Nic, 2008. "Estimating worldwide life satisfaction," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 35-47, March.
    17. Andrew E. Clark & Richard Layard & Claudia Senik, 2012. "The causes of happiness and misery," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00846583, HAL.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. 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.
    23. 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.
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    Citations

    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, 2017. "Early-life correlates of later-life well-being: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1706, CEPREMAP.
    4. Martin Binder, 2015. "Revisiting Cheerful Jane and Miserable John: The impact of income, good health, social contacts and education declines with increasing subjective well-being," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2015-01, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    5. Jeremy Heald & Erick Trevi~no Aguilar, 2020. "Does Subjective Well-being Contribute to Our Understanding of Mexican Well-being?," Papers 2004.11420, arXiv.org.
    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.

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    Keywords

    Education; Satisfaction; Aspirations; Income;

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