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Hedonic Capital

Author

Listed:
  • Graham, Liam

    (University College London)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

This paper proposes a new way to think about happiness. It distinguishes between stocks and flows. Central to the analysis is a concept we call ‘hedonic capital’. The paper sets out a model of the dynamics of wellbeing in which bad life-shocks are smoothed by the drawing down of hedonic capital. The model fits the patterns found in the empirical literature: the existence of a stable level of wellbeing and a tendency to return gradually towards that level. It offers a theory of hedonic adaptation.

Suggested Citation

  • Graham, Liam & Oswald, Andrew J., 2006. "Hedonic Capital," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 745, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:745
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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp_745.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2012. "Resilience to Economic Shocks and the Long Reach of Childhood Bullying," CEP Discussion Papers dp1173, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. 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.
    3. Arthur Grimes & Sean Hyland, 2015. "A New Cross-Country Measure of Material Wellbeing and Inequality: Methodology, Construction and Results," Working Papers 15_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    4. Senik, Claudia, 2008. "Is man doomed to progress?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 140-152, October.
    5. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
    6. Francesco Ferrante, 2009. "Education, Aspirations and Life Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 542-562, November.
    7. Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
    8. Konow, James, 2010. "Mixed feelings: Theories of and evidence on giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 279-297, April.
    9. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2012. "Recent Developments in the Economics of Happiness: A Selective Overview," IZA Discussion Papers 7078, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2008. "Happiness Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3604, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adaptation ; wellbeing ; evolution ; happiness ; habituation;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise

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