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Emotional Prosperity and the Stiglitz Commission

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  • Oswald, Andrew J

    (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick)

Abstract

This paper argues -- in line with the proposals of the recent Stiglitz Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress -- that we should now be measuring a nation’s emotional prosperity rather than its economic prosperity (that is, we ought to focus on the level of mental well-being not the number of pounds in people’s bank accounts). The paper reviews recent ideas in this field. It also describes seven recent studies that, worryingly, suggest that emotional prosperity may be declining through time. For labour-market specialists, a key question for future research is how much this downward trend can be traced back to increased pressures in working life. That question currently remains open.

Suggested Citation

  • Oswald, Andrew J, 2010. "Emotional Prosperity and the Stiglitz Commission," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 950, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:950
    as

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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2010/twerp_950.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "On the curvature of the reporting function from objective reality to subjective feelings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 369-372, September.
    2. Seeman, Teresa & Merkin, Sharon S. & Crimmins, Eileen & Koretz, Brandon & Charette, Susan & Karlamangla, Arun, 2008. "Education, income and ethnic differences in cumulative biological risk profiles in a national sample of US adults: NHANES III (1988-1994)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 72-87, January.
    3. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
    4. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    5. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2008. "The reliability of subjective well-being measures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1833-1845, August.
    6. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March.
    7. Francis Green & Nicholas Tsitsianis, 2005. "An Investigation of National Trends in Job Satisfaction in Britain and Germany," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(3), pages 401-429, September.
    8. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    9. 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.
    10. Simon Luechinger, 2009. "Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 482-515, March.
    11. Carol Graham, 2005. "Insights on Development from the Economics of Happiness," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 201-231.
    12. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2007. "Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2717, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur Stone, 2004. "Toward National Well-Being Accounts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 429-434, May.
    14. Oswald, Andrew J. & Wu, Stephen, 2010. "Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-being: Evidence from the USA," IZA Discussion Papers 4695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Fliessbach, Klaus & Weber, Bernd & Trautner, P. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Sunde, Uwe & Elger, C. E. & Falk, Armin, 2007. "Social comparison affects reward-related brain activity in the human ventral striatum," Munich Reprints in Economics 20362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    16. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Mattey, Joe P. & Wascher, William L., 2003. "Compensating differentials and evolution in the quality-of-life among U.S. states," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 619-649, September.
    17. Andrew J. Oswald & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2007. "Review 1: Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence: Theory and Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 441-454, 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 policy
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-11-15 23:02:09

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Charles Kenny, 2011. "Bentham from the Crypt Once More: Politicians in Pursuit of Happiness," Working Papers id:4332, eSocialSciences.
    2. repec:zbw:hohpro:342 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. D.P. Doessel & Ruth F.G. Williams, 2012. "The New Welfare Measures," Working Papers 2012.07, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    4. Eduardo Bericat, 2014. "The Socioemotional Well-Being Index (SEWBI): Theoretical Framework and Empirical Operationalisation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(2), pages 599-626, November.
    5. Melanie K. Jones, 2016. "Disability and Perceptions of Work and Management," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 54(1), pages 83-113, March.
    6. Mujcic, Redzo, 2014. "Are fruit and vegetables good for our mental and physical health? Panel data evidence from Australia," MPRA Paper 59149, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Böckerman, Petri & Bryson, Alex & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2012. "Does high involvement management improve worker wellbeing?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 660-680.
    8. Pugno, Maurizio, 2013. "Scitovsky and the income-happiness paradox," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-10.
    9. repec:old:wpaper:342 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Blanchflower, David G; Oswald, Andrew, 2011. "International Happiness," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 39, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    11. Haile, Getinet Astatike, 2016. "Workplace Disability: Whose Wellbeing Does It Affect?," IZA Discussion Papers 10102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2011. "Comparative Economic Performance and Institutional Change in OECD Countries: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data," Working Papers V-342-11, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2011.
    13. repec:spr:soinre:v:135:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1478-z is not listed on IDEAS
    14. G. Madonia & M. Cracolici & M. Cuffaro, 2013. "Exploring Wider Well-Being in the EU-15 Countries: An Empirical Application of the Stiglitz Report," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 117-140, March.
    15. Petri Böckerman & Edvard Johansson & Samuli Saarni & Suoma Saarni, 2014. "The Negative Association of Obesity with Subjective Well-Being: Is it All About Health?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 857-867, August.
    16. Böckerman, Petri & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2017. "Do Good Working Conditions Make You Work Longer? Evidence on Retirement Decisions Using Linked Survey and Register Data," IZA Discussion Papers 10964, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Franz Buscha, 2016. "Does Daily Sunshine Make You Happy? Subjective Measures of Well-Being and the Weather," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 84(5), pages 642-663, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Well-being ; biomarkers ; GHQ ; happiness ; Easterlin paradox JEL Classification: I1 ; I3;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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