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Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham’s Happiness for All?

Author

Listed:
  • Blanchflower, David G.

    (Dartmouth College, Stirling, NBER, Bloomberg and IZA)

  • Oswald, Andrew J

    (University of Warwick, CAGE, and IZA)

Abstract

In Happiness for All?, Carol Graham raises disquieting ideas about today’s United States. The challenge she puts forward is an important one. Here we review the intellectual case and offer additional evidence. We conclude broadly on the author’s side. Strikingly, Americans appear to be in greater pain than citizens of other countries, and most subgroups of citizens have downwardly trended happiness levels. There is, however, one bright side to an otherwise dark story. The happiness of black Americans has risen strongly since the 1970s. It is now almost equal to that of white Americans.

Suggested Citation

  • Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J, 2018. "Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham’s Happiness for All?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1153, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1153
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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2018/twerp_1153_oswald.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. David G. Blanchflower, 2020. "Unhappiness and age," NBER Working Papers 26642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. O'Connor, Kelsey J. & Graham, Carol, 2019. "Longer, more optimistic, lives: Historic optimism and life expectancy in the United States," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 374-392.
    3. Strulik, Holger, 2019. "From Pain Patient to Junkie: An Economic Theory of Painkiller Consumption and its Impact on Wellbeing and Longevity," Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203510, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Strulik, Holger, 2020. "Opioid epidemics," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 37(C).
    5. Peter Buhlmann, 2007. "Bootstrap schemes for time series (in Russian)," Quantile, Quantile, issue 3, pages 37-56, September.
    6. Carol Graham & Sergio Pinto, 2019. "Unequal hopes and lives in the USA: optimism, race, place, and premature mortality," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(2), pages 665-733, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness ; well-being ; GHQ ; mental-health ; depression ; life-course;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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