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International Differences in Well-Being$
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Ed Diener, Daniel Kahneman, and John Helliwell

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732739

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732739.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 August 2021

The Easterlin and Other Paradoxes: Why Both Sides of the Debate May Be Correct

The Easterlin and Other Paradoxes: Why Both Sides of the Debate May Be Correct

(p.247) 9 The Easterlin and Other Paradoxes: Why Both Sides of the Debate May Be Correct
International Differences in Well-Being

Carol Graham

Soumya Chattopadhyay

Mario Picon

Oxford University Press

Research on the economics of happiness has raised a new debate on the relationship between happiness and income. Easterlin’s original work highlighted an apparent paradox: as countries grew materially wealthier — and healthier — over time, average happiness levels did not increase. A number of studies since then confirmed the general direction of his findings. Yet some recent papers, based on new data, find a stronger relationship between average per capita income and happiness levels, and question whether the paradox exists at all. This chapter shows how the steepness of the slope in the income-happiness relationship depends to a large extent on the particular question that is used; on the sample of countries and time frame selected; on the specification of the income variable; and on the rate of economic growth in addition to income levels. This chapter also highlights three related phenomena: the paradox of unhappy growth; happy peasants and frustrated achievers; and the paradox of low aspirations.

Keywords:   happiness, income, Easterlin Paradox, international, national

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