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Economic growth and subjective well-being : reassessing the Easterlin paradox

Author: Betsey Stevenson; Justin Wolfers; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2008.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14282.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The "Easterlin paradox" suggests that there is no link between a society's economic development and its average level of happiness. We re-assess this paradox analyzing multiple rich datasets spanning many decades. Using recent data on a broader array of countries, we establish a clear positive link between average levels of subjective well-being and GDP per capita across countries, and find no evidence of a  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Betsey Stevenson; Justin Wolfers; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 244785573
Notes: "August 2008."
Description: 1 online resource (1 volume (various pagings)) : illustrations, digital.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14282.
Responsibility: Betsey Stevenson, Justin Wolfers.

Abstract:

The "Easterlin paradox" suggests that there is no link between a society's economic development and its average level of happiness. We re-assess this paradox analyzing multiple rich datasets spanning many decades. Using recent data on a broader array of countries, we establish a clear positive link between average levels of subjective well-being and GDP per capita across countries, and find no evidence of a satiation point beyond which wealthier countries have no further increases in subjective well-being. We show that the estimated relationship is consistent across many datasets and is similar to the relationship between subject well-being and income observed within countries. Finally, examining the relationship between changes in subjective well-being and income over time within countries we find economic growth associated with rising happiness. Together these findings indicate a clear role for absolute income and a more limited role for relative income comparisons in determining happiness.

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