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How Are You, My Dearest Mozart? Well-being and Creativity of Three Famous Composers Based on their Letters

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  • Karol Jan BOROWIECKI

    () (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark
    Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin
    Department of Economic History, Lund University)

Abstract

The well-being of a person is reflected in the language used. Building on 1,400 letters written by three famous music composers, I obtain well-being indices that span their lifetime. The validity of this methodology is shown by linking the indices with biographical information and through estimation of the determinants of well-being. I find, consistent with the literature, that work-related engagements and accomplishments are positively related with well-being, while poor health or death of a relative is detrimental. I then exploit the data and provide quantitative evidence on the existence of a causal impact of negative emotions on outstanding creativity, an association hypothesized across several disciplines since the Antiquity; however, not yet convincingly established for the case of extraordinary achievers.

Suggested Citation

  • Karol Jan BOROWIECKI, 2014. "How Are You, My Dearest Mozart? Well-being and Creativity of Three Famous Composers Based on their Letters," Trinity Economics Papers tep0114, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:tep0114
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    File URL: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/TEP/2016/TEP0114.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John O'Hagan & Karol Jan BOROWIECKI, 2009. "Birth Location, Migration and Clustering of Important Composers: Historical Patterns," Trinity Economics Papers tep0115, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2015.
    2. Karol Jan Borowiecki, 2012. "Are composers different? Historical evidence on conflict-induced migration (1816-1997)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 270-291, August.
    3. Lasse Steiner & Lucian Schneider, 2013. "The happy artist: an empirical application of the work-preference model," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 37(2), pages 225-246, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Dolan, Paul & Metcalfe, Robert, 2012. "The relationship between innovation and subjective wellbeing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1489-1498.
    6. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
    7. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Exploring the economic and social determinants of psychological well-being and perceived social support in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 513-537.
    8. Martin Binder, 2013. "Innovativeness and Subjective Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(2), pages 561-578, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Well-being; happiness; positive emotions; negative emotions; creativity; health; labor; composer; letters; methodology; music history.;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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