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Modern Economic Growth and Quality of Life: Cross Sectional and Time Series Evidence

Author

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  • Easterlin, Richard A.

    () (University of Southern California)

  • Angelescu McVey, Laura

    () (University of Southern California)

Abstract

To what extent are improvements in quality of life (material living levels, health, education, political and civil rights, happiness, and the like) associated with economic growth? International comparisons of quality of life (QoL) conditions almost always point to a strong positive association with real GDP per capita. Historical experience, however, frequently belies the results of these comparisons. More often than not the timing of various improvements in QoL, material living levels excepted, is different from that in real GDP per capita – some indicators preceding, others following. Moreover, the sequence of improvements in various aspects of QoL is not always the same from one part of the world to another. And sometimes, as in the case of happiness and life satisfaction, QoL indicators remain unchanged despite a doubling or more of real GDP per capita. In contrast to the results of simple international point-of-time comparisons, history suggests that improvements in many realms of life are not an automatic result of economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Easterlin, Richard A. & Angelescu McVey, Laura, 2007. "Modern Economic Growth and Quality of Life: Cross Sectional and Time Series Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2755, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2755
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rehme, Günther, 2007. "Wissen und Neue Wachstumstheorie: Die Rolle von fachspezifischem Humankapital," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 189, Darmstadt University of Technology, Department of Law and Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    quality of life; well-being; economic growth; international and historical comparisons;

    JEL classification:

    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • Y1 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts

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