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Are Happy People Ethical People? Evidence from North America and Europe

Author

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  • Harvey S. James Jr.

    (University of Missouri)

Abstract

This paper contributes to the growing literature on happiness research by examining whether happiness affects the ethical decisions of individuals. First, a recursive model of ethical decision making is developed in which an agent's utility is assumed to be a function of money, ethical decisions, and happiness, where happiness is defined as the agent's utility obtained at the end of the previous period. Second, the model is tested using data from North American and European respondents in the 1995-1997 wave of the World Values Survey. The findings suggest that happiness affects ethical judgments consistent with the recursive model.

Suggested Citation

  • Harvey S. James Jr., 2003. "Are Happy People Ethical People? Evidence from North America and Europe," Microeconomics 0303004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0303004
    Note: Type of Document - Microsoft Word 2000; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP; pages: 24; figures: included
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    2. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
    3. Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-642, October.
    4. Harvey S. James Jr. & Jeffrey Cohen, 2002. "Does Ethics Training Neutralize the Incentives of the Prisoner's Dilemma? Evidence from a Classroom Experiment," General Economics and Teaching 0202002, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 12 Mar 2003.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-12, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Lubian, Diego & Zarri, Luca, 2011. "Happiness and tax morale: An empirical analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 223-243.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness economics; ethics; utility theory;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D99 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Other

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