Abstract

The “Easterlin paradox” suggests that there is no link between a society’s economic development and its average level of happiness. We reassess 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 that between subjective 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.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-4465
Print ISSN
0007-2303
Pages
pp. 1-87
Launched on MUSE
2008-11-09
Open Access
N

Copyright

Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.