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Hedonic Capital

Listed author(s):
  • Graham, Liam

    ()

    (University College London)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

This paper proposes a new way to think about happiness. It distinguishes between stocks and flows. Central to the analysis is a concept we call ‘hedonic capital’. The paper sets out a model of the dynamics of wellbeing in which bad life-shocks are smoothed by the drawing down of hedonic capital. The model fits the patterns found in the empirical literature: the existence of a stable level of wellbeing and a tendency to return gradually towards that level. It offers a theory of hedonic adaptation.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp2079.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2079.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2079
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  1. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
  2. Rafael Di Tella & John Haisken-De New & Robert MacCulloch, 2007. "Happiness Adaptation to Income and to Status in an Individual Panel," NBER Working Papers 13159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Easterlin, Richard A., 2005. "A puzzle for adaptive theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 513-521, April.
  4. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
  5. Wilson, Chris M & Oswald, Andrew J, 2005. "How Does Marriage Affect Physical and Psychological Health? A Survey of the Longitudinal Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 728, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 1993. "Saving and Growth: A Reinterpretation," NBER Working Papers 4470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Arthur J. Robson, 2002. "Evolution and Human Nature," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 89-106, Spring.
  8. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
  9. Alois Stutzer, "undated". "The Role of Income Aspirations in Individual Happiness," IEW - Working Papers 124, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
  11. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
  12. Linda Babcock & Xianghong Wang & George Loewenstein, 1996. "Choosing the Wrong Pond: Social Comparisons in Negotiations That Reflect a Self-Serving Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 1-19.
  13. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-750, December.
  14. Menzel, Paul & Dolan, Paul & Richardson, Jeff & Olsen, Jan Abel, 2002. "The role of adaptation to disability and disease in health state valuation: a preliminary normative analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(12), pages 2149-2158, December.
  15. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. 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.
  17. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, With and Without Liquidity Constraints (Expanded Version)," NBER Working Papers 8387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Arthur J. Robson, 2001. "The Biological Basis of Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 11-33, March.
  19. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
  20. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2005. "Do Divorcing Couples Become Happier By Breaking Up?," IZA Discussion Papers 1788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2001. "How Much Do We Care About Absolute Versus Relative Income and Consumption?," Working Papers in Economics 63, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  22. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
  23. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Keely, Louise C., 2005. "Why isn't growth making us happier? Utility on the hedonic treadmill," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 333-355, July.
  26. Wu, Stephen, 2001. "Adapting to heart conditions: a test of the hedonic treadmill," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 495-507, July.
  27. Robson, Arthur J., 1996. "A Biological Basis for Expected and Non-expected Utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 397-424, February.
  28. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "A Psychological Perspective on Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 162-168, May.
  29. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
  30. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, "undated". "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior - Testing �Conditional Cooperation� in a Field Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 162, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  31. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
  32. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
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