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Socio-Economic Environment and Human PsychologySocial, Ecological, and Cultural Perspectives$
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Ayse K. Üskül and Shigehiro Oishi

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190492908

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190492908.001.0001

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Economics of Subjective Well-Being

Economics of Subjective Well-Being

Evaluating the Evidence for the Easterlin Paradox

Chapter:
(p.225) Chapter 9 Economics of Subjective Well-Being
Source:
Socio-Economic Environment and Human Psychology
Author(s):

Anke C Plagnol

Lucia Macchia

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190492908.003.0009

In 1974 economist Richard A. Easterlin asked in his seminal article “Does economic growth improve the human lot?” His answer to this question was a resounding no. The paper described what was later to be known as the Easterlin paradox, which is the observation that at one point in time rich nations are on average happier than poor nations, but over time there is no relationship between happiness and gross domestic product (GDP). The Easterlin paradox can also be found at the individual level. Easterlin’s paper is often described as starting the field of the economics of subjective well-being. The Easterlin paradox has been the topic of many published articles, with numerous studies supporting the original findings and some refuting them. This chapter describes the Easterlin paradox and recent evidence confirming or rejecting its existence. Other developments in the economics of subjective well-being are also discussed.

Keywords:   subjective well-being, happiness, Easterlin paradox, economic growth, GDP

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