Deconstructing the Hedonic Treadmill: Is Happiness Autoregressive?
Affective habituation is well-documented in social sciences: people seem to adapt to many life events, ranging from lottery windfalls to terminal illnesses. We propose a subtle but critical difference: current happiness may depend directly on past happiness. We test our hypothesis running dynamic happiness regressions using panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, the British Household Panel Survey and the Swiss Household Panel. Contrary to the widespread prior among economists and non-economists, the coefficient on lagged happiness is positive and statistically significant. We discuss some explanations for the puzzle. Our favorite is that reported happiness is time-inconsistent, even within individuals. We test this conjecture by using a 52-days study. As expected, the coefficient on lagged happiness is negative and statistically significant. We find that changes in hedonic states bounce back 30% in only 5 days.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gary Charness & Brit Grosskopf, 1999.
"Relative payoffs and happiness: An experimental study,"
Economics Working Papers
436, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2000.
- Charness, Gary & Grosskopf, Brit, 2001. "Relative payoffs and happiness: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 301-328, July.
- Brit Grosskopf, 2000. "Relative Payoffs and Happiness: An Experimental Study," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1263, Econometric Society.
- Charness, Gary B & Grosskopf, Brit, 2000. "Relative Payoffs And Happiness: An Experimental Study," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8389x8z2, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
- Michael Hagerty, 2003. "Was Life Better in the “Good Old Days”? Intertemporal Judgments of Life Satisfaction," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 115-139, June.
- Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991.
"Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
- Tom Doan, . "RATS program to replicate Arellano-Bond 1991 dynamic panel," Statistical Software Components RTZ00169, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001.
"Psychological Expected Utility Theory And Anticipatory Feelings,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79, February.
- Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1997. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," Working Papers 97-37, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Frank Kleibergen & Richard Paap, 2003.
"Generalized Reduced Rank Tests using the Singular Value Decomposition,"
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers
03-003/4, Tinbergen Institute.
- Kleibergen, Frank & Paap, Richard, 2006. "Generalized reduced rank tests using the singular value decomposition," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 97-126, July.
- Richard Paap & Frank Kleibergen, 2004. "Generalized Reduced Rank Tests using the Singular Value Decomposition," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 195, Econometric Society.
- Kleibergen, F.R. & Paap, R., 2003. "Generalized Reduced Rank Tests using the Singular Value Decomposition," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2003-01, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
- Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004.
"How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
- Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
- M Arellano & O Bover, 1990.
"Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models,"
CEP Discussion Papers
dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
- Jens Bonke & Martin Browning, 2003. "The Distribution of Well-Being and Income within the Household," CAM Working Papers 2003-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
- Becchetti, Leonardo & Castriota, Stefano, 2008. "Does money affect happiness and self-esteem? The poor borrowers' perspective in a quasi-natural experiment," AICCON Working Papers 48-2008, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
- Di Tella, Rafael & Haisken-De New, John & MacCulloch, Robert, 2010.
"Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 834-852, December.
- 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.
- 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.
- Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2006. "Does Happiness Adapt? A Longitudinal Study of Disability with Implications for Economists and Judges," IZA Discussion Papers 2208, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007.
"The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements,"
Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften,
Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
- Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- Bruce Headey & Ruud Muffels & Mark Wooden, 2004.
"Money Doesn't Buy Happiness … or Does It? A Reconsideration Based on the Combined Effects of Wealth, Income and Consumption,"
Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series
wp2004n15, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
- Headey, Bruce & Muffels, Ruud & Wooden, Mark, 2004. "Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness… Or Does It? A Reconsideration Based on the Combined Effects of Wealth, Income and Consumption," IZA Discussion Papers 1218, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Johannes Schwarze, 2003. "Using Panel Data on Income Satisfaction to Estimate Equivalence Scale Elasticity," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(3), pages 359-372, 09.
- Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
- Robert Whaples, 2009. "The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members: The Results of a New Survey," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 6(3), pages 337-348, September.
- Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
- Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20340. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.