IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/43983.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Easterlin illusion: economic growth does go with greater happiness

Author

Listed:
  • Veenhoven, Ruut
  • Vergunst, Floris

Abstract

The 'Easterlin Paradox' holds that economic growth in nations does not buy greater happiness for the average citizen. This thesis was advanced in the 1970s on the basis of the then available data on happiness in nations. Later data have disproved most of the empirical claims behind the thesis, but Easterlin still maintains that there is no long-term correlation between economic growth and happiness. This last claim was tested using the time trend data available in the World Database of Happiness, which involve 1531 data points in 67 nations that yield 199 time-series ranging from 10 to more than 40 years. The analysis reveals a positive correlation between GDP growth and rise of in happiness in nations. Both GDP and happiness have gone up in most nations, and average happiness has risen more in nations where the economy has grown the most; r =+0.21 p

Suggested Citation

  • Veenhoven, Ruut & Vergunst, Floris, 2013. "The Easterlin illusion: economic growth does go with greater happiness," MPRA Paper 43983, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43983
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/43983/1/MPRA_paper_43983.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
    3. Phelps, Charlotte D., 2001. "A clue to the paradox of happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 293-300, July.
    4. Easterlin, Richard A. & Angelescu McVey, Laura & Switek, Malgorzata & Sawangfa, Onnicha & Zweig, Jacqueline Smith, 2011. "The Happiness-Income Paradox Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 5799, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Michael Hagerty & Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Wealth and Happiness Revisited – Growing National Income Does Go with Greater Happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
    6. Richard Easterlin, 2005. "Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness: A Reply to Hagerty and Veenhoven," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 429-443, December.
    7. Easterlin, Richard A. & Angelescu McVey, Laura, 2009. "Happiness and Growth the World Over: Time Series Evidence on the Happiness-Income Paradox," IZA Discussion Papers 4060, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Kapteyn, Arie, 1973. "Further evidence on the individual welfare function of income: An empirical investigatiion in The Netherlands," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 33-62, April.
    9. Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Apparent Quality-of-Life in Nations: How Long and Happy People Live," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 61-86, March.
    10. Christian Bjørnskov & Nabanita Gupta & Peder Pedersen, 2008. "Analysing trends in subjective well-being in 15 European countries, 1973–2002," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 317-330, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Happiness vs options
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-27 19:18:59
    2. Random thoughts on happiness: how to be happy?
      by noname in ZeeConomics on 2015-07-22 13:16:39

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn & Rubia R. Valente, 2019. "Livability and Subjective Well-Being Across European Cities," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 197-220, March.
    2. Tapas MISHRA & Mamata PARHI & Claude DIEBOLT, 2014. "Evolutionary efficiency and distributive effects of inertia in cross-country life-satisfaction," Economies et Sociétés (Serie 'Histoire Economique Quantitative'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), issue 49, pages 1335-1356, Août.
    3. Sarracino, Francesco & O'Connor, Kelsey J. & Ono, Hiroshi, 2019. "Making economic growth and well-being compatible: evidence from Japan," MPRA Paper 93010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Michiel Slag & Martijn J. Burger & Ruut Veenhoven, 2019. "Did the Easterlin Paradox apply in South Korea between 1980 and 2015? A case study," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 66(4), pages 325-351, December.
    5. Kangmennaang, Joseph & Elliott, Susan J., 2018. "Towards an integrated framework for understanding the links between inequalities and wellbeing of places in low and middle income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 213(C), pages 45-53.
    6. Rok Spruk & Aleskandar Kešeljević, 2016. "Institutional Origins of Subjective Well-Being: Estimating the Effects of Economic Freedom on National Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 659-712, April.
    7. Francesco Sarracino & Małgorzata Mikucka, 2019. "Consume More, Work Longer, and Be Unhappy: Possible Social Roots of Economic Crisis?," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 59-84, March.
    8. Bartolini, Stefano & Sarracino, Francesco, 2015. "The Dark Side of Chinese Growth: Declining Social Capital and Well-Being in Times of Economic Boom," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 333-351.
    9. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Stutzer, Alois, 2014. "Economic Approaches to Understanding Change in Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 8131, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Bartolini, Stefano & Sarracino, Francesco, 2014. "The dark side of Chinese growth: Explaining decreasing well-being in times of economic boom," MPRA Paper 57765, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Liisa-Maria Palomäki, 2017. "Reference Groups and Pensioners’ Subjective Economic Well-Being in Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 131(2), pages 509-525, March.
    12. Stefano Bartolini & Małgorzata Mikucka & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Money, Trust and Happiness in Transition Countries: Evidence from Time Series," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 87-106, January.
    13. Edsel L. Beja Jr., 2018. "Testing the easterlin paradox: Results and policy implications," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 2(2), pages 79-83, September.
    14. Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn & Joan Maya Mazelis, 2017. "More Unequal in Income, More Unequal in Wellbeing," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 953-975, July.
    15. Marko Družiæ Martina Majstoroviæ, 2017. ": Material Well-being and Happiness in Transition Countries," Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, vol. 20(2), pages 21-32, November.
    16. Kaiser, Caspar F. & Vendrik, Maarten C.M., 2018. "Different Versions of the Easterlin Paradox: New Evidence for European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 11994, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Sarracino, Francesco & O'Connor, Kelsey J., 2019. "Economic growth and well-being beyond the Easterlin paradox," MPRA Paper 96013, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Franci Cirkvencic & Tine Bertoncel & Andrej Bertoncelj & Maja Meško, 2017. "Analysis of Relative Prosperity in Romania and Slovenia Using the Being-Loving-Having Model," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 19(46), pages 822-822, August.
    19. Louis Tay & David Chan & Ed Diener, 2014. "The Metrics of Societal Happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(2), pages 577-600, June.
    20. Amanina Abdur Rahman & Ruut Veenhoven, 2018. "Freedom and Happiness in Nations: A Research Synthesis," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 13(2), pages 435-456, June.
    21. Beja, Edsel Jr., 2018. "Testing the Easterlin Paradox: Results and Policy Implications," MPRA Paper 101075, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Mikucka, Malgorzata & Sarracino, Francesco, 2014. "Making economic growth and well-being compatible: the role of trust and income inequality," MPRA Paper 59695, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    happiness; economic growth; Easterlin Paradox; trend analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43983. 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: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.