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Income, Happiness, and the Disutility of Labour

Author

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  • Andreas Knabe

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Freie University Berlin)

  • Steffen Rätzel

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

Abstract

We reexamine the claim that the effect of income on subjective well-being suffers from a systematic downward bias if one ignores that higher income is typically associated with more work effort. We analyze this claim using German panel data, controlling for individual unobserved heterogeneity, and specifying the impact of working hours in a non-monotonic form. Our results suggest that the impact of working hours on happiness is rather small and exhibits an inverse U-shape. We do not find evidence that leaving working hours out of the analysis leads to an underestimation of the income effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2009. "Income, Happiness, and the Disutility of Labour," FEMM Working Papers 09010, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:09010
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    File URL: http://www.ww.uni-magdeburg.de/fwwdeka/femm/a2009_Dateien/2009_10.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. AlisonL. Booth & JanC. vanOurs, 2008. "Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-Time Work Puzzle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(526), pages 77-99, February.
    2. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:dgr:kubcen:200769 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Pouwels, Babette & Siegers, Jacques & Vlasblom, Jan Dirk, 2008. "Income, working hours, and happiness," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 72-74, April.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter H Van Der Meer & Rudi Wielers, 2011. "What makes workers happy?," Post-Print hal-00734530, HAL.
    2. Homann, Malte & Jensen, Uwe, 2013. "Does better education cause higher income?," HWWI Research Papers 145, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    3. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier & Jara, Xavier, 2017. "Back to Bentham, Should We? Large-Scale Comparison of Experienced versus Decision Utility," IZA Discussion Papers 10907, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Gerritsen, Aart, 2016. "Optimal taxation when people do not maximize well-being," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 122-139.
    5. Robert Rudolf, 2014. "Work Shorter, Be Happier? Longitudinal Evidence from the Korean Five-Day Working Policy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 1139-1163, October.
    6. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier B. & Jara, H. Xavier, 2017. "Back to Bentham, Should We? Large-Scale Comparison of Experienced versus Decision Utility," GLO Discussion Paper Series 52, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Life Satisfaction; Income; Working Hours;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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