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Economic Growth Evens-Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys

Author

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  • Andrew E. Clark

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

  • Sarah Flèche

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

  • Claudia Senik

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

Abstract

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 argue that the extension of various public goods helps to explain this greater happiness homogeneity. This new stylised fact arguably comes as a bonus to the Easterlin paradox, offering a somewhat brighter perspective for developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Claudia Senik, 2014. "Economic Growth Evens-Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys," Working Papers hal-01080877, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-01080877
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-pjse.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01080877
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Leonardo Becchetti & Riccardo Massari & Paolo Naticchioni, 2014. "The drivers of happiness inequality: suggestions for promoting social cohesion," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 419-442.
    2. 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.
    3. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, May.
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    7. 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.
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    12. 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.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Economic Growth Evens-Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-11-14 22:43:43

    More about this item

    Keywords

    development; economic growth; inequality; Happiness; Easterlin paradox;

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