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The usefulness of a Happy Income Index

  • Prinz, Aloys
  • Bünger, Björn
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    In this paper, Happy Income is introduced as an indicator of physical and socio-psychic wellbeing. It is constructed on the assumption that socio-economic well-being is based on objective circumstances, such as personal income as well as on a subjective evaluation of life. In combining these factors, Happy Income is a cardinal measure of overall well-being in a given country. Therefore, Happy Income is not subject to the limitations of purely ordinally scaled indicators, i.e. it is not restricted by an upper bound, which may be one explanation of the Easterlin paradox. The Happy Income concept is employed to measure social well-being in various different European countries. The results are compared to these countries' score on Ruut Veenhoven's Happy Life Years. It is argued that Happy Income is a valuable complement to other indicators of well-being at an aggregated level.

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    Paper provided by Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM), University of Münster in its series CAWM Discussion Papers with number 15.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cawmdp:15
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    1. Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," IZA Discussion Papers 2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. DECANCK, Koen & DECOSTER, André & SCHOOKAERT, Erik, . "The evolution of world inequality in well-being," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2140, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    3. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    4. Mentzakis, Emmanouil & Moro, Mirko, 2009. "The poor, the rich and the happy: Exploring the link between income and subjective well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 147-158, January.
    5. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    6. Ingebjorg Kristoffersen, 2010. "The Metrics of Subjective Wellbeing: Cardinality, Neutrality and Additivity," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(272), pages 98-123, 03.
    7. Stefan Boes & Rainer Winkelmann, 2006. "The Effect of Income on Positive and Negative Subjective Well-Being," SOI - Working Papers 0605, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    8. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Georgellis, Yannis & Tsitsianis, Nicholas & Yin, Ya Ping, 2009. "Income and happiness across Europe: Do reference values matter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 42-51, February.
    9. Marc Fleurbaey & Guillaume Gaulier, 2007. "International Comparisons of Living Standards by Equivalent Incomes," Working Papers 2007-03, CEPII research center.
    10. Oswald, Andrew J, 2008. "On the Curvature of the Reporting Function from Objective Reality to Subjective Feelings," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 839, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    11. Keeney,Ralph L. & Raiffa,Howard, 1993. "Decisions with Multiple Objectives," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521438834.
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