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Happiness Around the WorldThe paradox of happy peasants and miserable millionaires$
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Carol Graham

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199549054.001.0001

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The Happiness and Income Debate

The Happiness and Income Debate

Substance, Methodology, and the Easterlin Paradox1

(p.24) Chapter 2 The Happiness and Income Debate
Happiness Around the World

Carol Graham

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the relationship between happiness and income. More specifically, it considers whether having more money makes a person happier and if so, how much more money one needs to be just a little bit happier or very happy. It looks at the Easterlin paradox: as countries grew materially wealthier — and healthier — over time, average happiness levels did not increase. It also analyses the correlation between happiness and life satisfaction and takes note of the fact that country selection and the happiness question asked both make a difference to the relationship between happiness and income. Finally, it discusses the debate over whether an Easterlin paradox exists or not and highlights the methodological and empirical complexities entailed in resolving the debate.

Keywords:   happiness, income, money, Easterlin paradox, life satisfaction

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