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Does Consumption Buy Happiness? Evidence from the United States

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Abstract

We examine the association between various components of consumption expenditure and happiness in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative sample of older Americans. We find that only one component of consumption is positively related to happiness—leisure consumption. In contrast, consumption of durables, charity, personal care, food, health care, vehicles, and housing are not significantly associated with happiness. Second, we find that leisure consumption is associated with higher levels of happiness partially through its effect on social connectedness, as indexed by measures of loneliness and embeddedness in social networks. On one hand, these results counter the conventional wisdom that “material goods can’t buy happiness.” One the other hand, they underscore the importance of social goods and social connectedness in the production of happiness. KeywordsHappiness-Leisure-Consumption JEL ClassificationD12-I31

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... Evidence on the relationship between consumption and life satisfaction is relatively sparse. Seminal work by DeLeire and Kalil (2010) showed that older Americans derived more satisfaction from the goods and services that strengthen social cohesiveness, such as leisure and charitable activities. Money spent on necessities (food, healthcare and housing) and material goods (durables and clothing) accounted for a large portion of monthly expenditures but had little influence on life satisfaction. ...
... 1 Older adults are defined as individuals aged 50 and over, following DeLeire and Kalil (2010), Kekäläinen et al. (2017) and Kwak (2011 absorption). Further, it categorized experiential outcomes into four experiential dimensions: entertainment (passive/absorption), education (active/absorption), aesthetic (passive/immersion) and escapist (active/immersion). ...
... Similarly, a study on Finnish elderly found that only travel had a positive influence on both the mental and physical domains of well-being; other activities like exercise affected only physical well-being (Kekäläinen et al., 2017). As found in our study, the literature has suggested that it is not just having leisure experiences, but the content and quality of the leisure that matters to satisfaction outcomes in later life (Carstensen et al., 1999;DeLeire & Kalil, 2010;Headey et al., 2008). ...
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This study examines the association between consumption expenditure and life satisfaction among older Koreans (aged 50 or older). We estimate a series of individual fixed effects regressions that link life satisfaction to various types of household consumption using data drawn from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging. The results show that leisure consumption is positively related to life satisfaction and that this association is driven largely by uncommon and infrequent leisure activities, like travel and entertainment. Expenditures for leisure that provides more ordinary experiences, such as recreation and self‐development programs, were generally uncorrelated with life satisfaction, despite being consumed by a large fraction of older Koreans. Finally, the evidence on whether material purchases or status‐enhancing purchases were positively correlated with life satisfaction is mixed. On the one hand, our findings reaffirm the conventional wisdom that people feel more satisfied when spending money on experiences than on material possessions. On the other hand, we provide the novel finding that consumption directed towards extraordinary and memorable experiences that go beyond everyday life tends to generate greater life satisfaction.
... Third, studying the impact of leisure time allocation model on individual subjective well-being. Previous studies have done a lot of research on the relationship between leisure and subjective well-being (Brajša-žganec et al., 2011;Deleire & Kalil, 2010;Noll & Weick, 2015). However, there were few studies on the impact of leisure time allocation mode on subjective well-being. ...
... In the research strand on leisure constraints (also known as leisure barriers), leisure time and disposable income are the most basic and important objective factors that affect individual leisure and well-being (Jackson, 2000;Li & Liao, 2018;Song, 2014); the influence of leisure time on individual well-being has also been confirmed in sociology and psychology (Dolan et al. 2008). In well-being economics, after the consumption structure is incorporated into the effect function, leisure consumption significantly improves individual subjective well-being (Deleire & Kalil, 2010;Noll & Weick, 2015). In addition to leisure time and income level, leisure space is also an important factor restricting leisure behaviour through spatial elements such as resources, the environment, and facilities (Lloyd & Auld, 2002). ...
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As the main tension in Chinese society has become that between people's growing need for a better life and unbalanced and inadequate development, leisure activities have become a main factor affecting the subjective well-being of Chinese residents. This study uses micro data from the 2019–2020 Chinese Residents’ Economic Life Survey as the sample, applies the latent class analysis (LCA) method to conduct a joint analysis of all leisure activities of individuals, and then divides individual leisure time modes into four types: general leisure, stationary leisure, family-friendly leisure and sports/health care-related leisure. To overcome endogeneity problems from missing variables, sample selection bias, and two-way causality, this paper uses the Heckman two-step and propensity score matching methods to empirically analyse the impacts of residents' leisure time allocation patterns on individual subjective well-being. The study finds that sports/health care-type leisure is most helpful in improving individual subjective well-being, followed by general leisure, family-friendly leisure and stationary leisure, which have relatively weaker impacts on subjective well-being. The estimation results remain robust and reliable after we introduce the idea of misclassification probability to test the robustness of the findings. On this basis, a group heterogeneity analysis by region, income level, education level, marital status and age is carried out. The research conclusions of this article can help guide residents in rationally allocating their leisure time and provide a policy reference for the construction of leisure facilities in China’s cities.
... The focus on income, rather than consumption, in econometric analyses of panel data reflects the lack of available data sets. The few previous large data set studies of consumption and general well-being (DeLeire & Kalil, 2010;Hudders & Pandelaere, 2012;Noll & Weick, 2015) have mostly been cross-sectional and hence unable to control for the effects on general well-being of stable but unobservable or unobserved individual differences (e.g., in personality). 1 Moreover, previous studies have typically had only partial consumption data available. ...
... Thinking about past experiential purchases improves mood more than does thinking about past material purchases, experiences enter more strongly than do material items into people's self-narratives (Carter & Gilovich, 2012), and people are relatively more willing to wait for experiences than for possessions (Kumar & Gilovich, 2016). Most of this research is laboratory based and examines the changes in affect associated with particular expenditures rather than the effect of general consumption levels on a more cognitive/reflective measure of overall satisfaction with life, although DeLeire and Kalil (2010) found, in analysis of a large data set, that among older Americans, only leisure consumption was substantially and significantly related to life satisfaction. DeLeire and Kalil also found a small positive effect of spending on charity and gifts. ...
Article
Does happiness depend on what one earns or what one spends? Income is typically found to have small beneficial effects on well-being. However, economic theory suggests that well-being is conferred not by income but by consumption (i.e., spending on goods and services), and a person’s level of consumption may differ greatly from their level of income due to saving behavior and taxation. Moreover, research within consumer psychology has established relationships between people’s spending in specific categories and their well-being. Here we show for the first time using panel data that changes in life satisfaction are associated with changes in consumption, not changes in income. We also find some evidence that increased conspicuous consumption is more strongly associated with improved well-being than is increased nonconspicuous consumption.
... Happy people are so because they can consume, travel, shop and live in ways that could eventually harm the environment (Lindenberg & Steg, 2007). While the link between materialism and happiness has been under debate, the link between happiness and consumption has been intuitively self-evident (DeLeire & Kalil., 2010;Guillen-Royo, 2008;Huang & Rust, 2011;Veenhoven, 2004;White et al., 2014). Thus, sustainabilityminded consumers may, in turn, become less unhappy (Veenhoven, 2004). ...
... In this paper, we retain the focus on hedonism, defined as "maximizing pleasure and positive emotions." More specifically, we follow the approach taken by the World Happiness Report, which defines happiness as the extent to which a person is subjectively happy with his/her life as a whole (DeLeire & Kalil, 2010). We also adhere to the World Database of Happiness's definition of happiness as life satisfaction. ...
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The paper uses aggregate data from 152 countries to analyze the association between happiness and sustainability. Our paper provides new evidence on happiness and sustainability. Taking a psychological approach, happiness is linked to hedonism and reflects individual perceptions of quality of life and life satisfaction. Sustainability reflects the extent of meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals which includes responsible consumption. In order to elucidate the link, the analysis examines separately the association between happiness, consumption, sustainability and responsible behavior. The results document a positive and significant association between them, which remains broadly robust subject to various controls, sensitivity and endogeneity tests. The results contribute to the elucidation of the role of happiness and hedonism for sustainability and stress the complementarity between happy life and good life. While associated with higher consumption, happiness could also lead to more responsible behavior and higher adherence of sustainability considerations. Thus, happy nations may consume more but they also appear to be more responsible towards the society and the environment. Our results challenge the traditional notion that happiness and sustainability go separate ways. These findings signal a number of potential social and political implications including pointing on the importance of happiness to responsible behavior.
... Dunn et al. (2003) found that the social aspects of residential life are more important than the physical aspects of housing, and that satisfaction with social aspects positively affects happiness. DeLeire and Kalil (2010) found that leisure spending and consumption were associated with the social environment as components that enhance happiness and life satisfaction. It is known that social homogeneity, status, privilege and social facilities are important reasons for choosing gated communities (Roitman 2005;Blakely and Synder 1997;Carvalho et al. 1997). ...
... This is similar to the claim by DeLeire and Kalil (2010) that leisure spending and happiness in relation to the effects of social homogeneity, status and social facilities affect the choice to live in gated communities. DeLeire and Kalil (2010) showed the relationship between leisure spending, social environment and happiness. The housing estate expenses for social facilities as a form of interaction with the social environment is also a form of leisure spending. ...
Article
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This study aimed to correlate happiness with housing, housing area and neighborhood satisfaction based on the results of different studies that have shown that satisfaction with housing and the neighborhood affects residents’ perceptions of happiness. Unlike the related researches in the literature, this study controls for the negative consequences arising from financial concerns in its examination of the effect of housing, housing area and neighborhood satisfaction on happiness. The Balat neighborhood in Bursa, Turkey, which is popular with high-income residents, was selected for this study considering these issues. The participants were asked to indicate the importance they attribute to and their satisfaction levels with their housing estates, residences and neighborhood. Data were collected from 217 residents of 6 sites in the neighborhood who were selected using stratified sampling. Reliability analysis, frequency distributions, descriptive statistics and Chaid analysis were used to evaluate the data. The analysis found that the variable that most affected perceptions of happiness was housing estate satisfaction. According to the results obtained from the second stage of the analysis, satisfaction with the residence increased satisfaction with the housing estate, and therefore positively affected happiness. The third stage of the analysis indicated that the importance of the properties of the residential area on the housing site affected satisfaction with housing. This study discusses its results, the factors that determine housing and housing estate satisfaction and the relationship of the properties of the residential area with the happiness of residents.
... DeLeire and Kalil 2010; Mujcic and Oswald 2016;Wang et al. 2019). In their investigation of a nationally representative sample of older Americans, DeLeire and Kalil (2010) show that leisure consumption is associated with higher levels of happiness partially through its effect on social connectedness. To ease our understanding, we estimated two additional models and presented the results in Table 13 in the Appendix. ...
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We use data from the 2016 China Labor-force Dynamics Survey (CLDS) to examine the relationship between happiness and consumption expenditure of rural farmers in China. A two-stage residual inclusion approach is applied to tackle the potential endogeneity issue of happiness. The empirical results show that a higher level of happiness is associated with an increase in consumption expenditure in general. Further analysis reveals that higher levels of happiness are positively and significantly associated with higher expenditures on basic living goods, education and gifts. We also find that both household income and access to the Internet boost happiness and increase consumption expenditure. Happiness plays a larger role in improving the consumption expenditure of rural households compared to their urban counterparts. Our findings may suggest that improving rural income via income diversification strategies and investing in rural information and communication technology infrastructures would encourage rural farmers’ happiness, promote the upgrading of rural consumption and boost sustainable economic growth.
... Unemployment risk imposes considerable welfare losses on workers (Low et al. 2010). Existing evidence shows that the costs borne by workers during unemployment include reductions in consumption and future wages (Farber 2005;Gibbons and Katz 1992;Gruber 2001), long delays before reemployment (Katz and Meyer 1990), as well as psychological and social costs (DeLeire and Kalil 2010;Kalil and Ziol-Guest 2008). ...
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This article explores whether and how long-term investors influence non-executive employees’ incentives. While long-term investors benefit from long-term investments that create value over time, employees tend to be averse to long-term investments. We conjecture that long-term investors foster employee-related CSR to motivate employees to engage in long-term investment projects. Consistent with this prediction, we find that long-term investor ownership is a strong driver of employee-related CSR. Additional analyses indicate that this result is not driven by self-selection or reverse causality. We further show that employee-related CSR leads to increased long-term investments (R&D expenses and corporate innovation). Overall, our findings highlight that employee-related CSR is an important channel through which long-term investors encourage long-term investments.
... For example, Gokdemir (2015) reports that, in Turkey, only the consumption of durable goods is correlated with life satisfaction. DeLeire and Kalil (2010) analyze US data for nine consumption categories and show that, of all the categories measured, only one, leisure, is positively correlated with SWB. Zhang and Xiong (2015) employ 77 consumption categories and 13 SWB indicators to examine the relationship between consumption and SWB in Japan. ...
Article
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In this study, we investigate the relationship between consumption and subjective well-being (SWB). There is clear evidence in the literature that the income–SWB relationship depends on the SWB measure, but the reasons are not fully clear yet; however, the main reason may be related to consumption because most income is used for that. This study is the first to examine directly whether the consumption–SWB relationship differs between affective, cognitive, and eudaimonic SWB measures. We adopt the following four SWB indices: life satisfaction, the Cantril ladder, affect balance, and eudaimonia. In addition, on the consumption side, we consider both material and relational consumption. Nonparametric analysis of our uniquely collected survey results in Japan suggests that total consumption contributes to cognitive measures of SWB and eudaimonia, while there is a certain threshold for affective measures. However, once material versus relational consumption is considered in total consumption, we find that relational consumption contributes to any SWB measure without clear upper bounds, while material consumption contributes to all SWB measures only to certain thresholds. Our results also show that the marginal effects of total consumption, material consumption, and relational consumption on cognitive measures of SWB and eudaimonia are greater than on affective measures. In addition, our results show that the marginal effects of relational consumption tend to be greater than those of material consumption for all SWB indices. Based on the findings, we expect relational consumption to be key for improving well-being.
... 4). In leisure studies, active sport participation is described to evoke emotional reactions relating to a meaningful life with effects on happiness (Bailey & Fernando, 2012;Brown, Frankel, & Fennell, 1991;DeLeire & Kalil, 2010). ...
Article
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The baffling growth in the number of participants in sport events calls for an explanation. Sport event organizers, working on an increasingly competitive market, need to know what factors are important to satisfy the participants and enhance their well-being. Satisfaction is a central concept in consumer behaviour research together with experiences. Subjective well-being (SWB), also referred to as happiness, has made a more recent entry into consumer behaviour research but is gradually gaining recognition as an important concept. The objective of this study is to find out how SWB fits into the framework of consumer behaviour and whether SWB can be explained by satisfaction with the event experience in the context of participatory sport events. It is proposed that satisfaction is better aligned with theories about happiness by distinguishing between hedonic satisfaction and eudaimonic satisfaction. A survey of 7552 participants at five sport events was used to select a subsample of 192 participants, which provides data for testing an SEM model. The model consists of six constructs: Service quality, fun, flow (as components of the event experience), hedonic satisfaction, eudaimonic satisfaction and the dependent construct SWB. The results reveal a good fit of the model. Service quality and fun affect hedonic satisfaction whereas eudaimonic satisfaction is influenced by flow. SWB is explained by hedonic satisfaction, which acts as a fully mediating variable for eudaimonic satisfaction. The conclusions centre on the introduction of two new types of satisfaction consistent with the two facets of happiness and implications for event management.
... Gokdemir [42] shows that, in Turkey, only the consumption of durable goods is correlated with life satisfaction. DeLeir and Kalil [43] shows that out of nine consumption categories, only one, leisure, is positively correlated with SWB, using U.S. data. Zhang and Xiong [44] employs 77 consumption categories and 13 SWB indicators to investigate the relationship between consumption and SWB in Japan and shows the particularly strong correlation between relational consumption and SWB. ...
Article
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In our daily lives, some people tend to use the same material goods more extensively than other people. It would appear that people like this consume fewer material inputs, other things being equal. Our research question is whether they are also happier in terms of life satisfaction. To study this, we first hypothesized that they are happier due to the endowment effect, prosocial or pro-environmental motivations, or income and substitution effects. We show that income and substitution effects are positive for people who use products for longer. Using a reduced form model that incorporates these four effects together, and empirical data originally collected from rural areas in Vietnam, we divide consumption into material consumption and residual consumption and demonstrate that, in general, increased material consumption is not associated with increased well-being; however, for those who take better care of their possessions, this effect is reversed, and material consumption does increase well-being. Our study shows that for people who take better care of their possessions, increased consumption is linked to increased well-being. This finding has a useful policy implication for developing countries to improve their well-being by promoting economic growth alongside responsible consumption.
... To apply their model, however, one must know how people accumulate happiness over time when engaging in potential activities. Static measures of happiness [35][36][37][38] tell us which activities make people happy, which is useful, but not how these activities confer happiness over time. Clearly, some activities confer happiness quickly whereas other activities require a longer investment. ...
Article
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Although most people want to be happy, the pursuit of happiness involves an overwhelming number of choices and great uncertainty about the consequences. Many of these choices have significant implications for sustainability, which are rarely considered. Here, we present an optimality model that maximizes subjective happiness, which can eventually account for sustainability outcomes. Our model identifies the optimal use of time or energy to maximize happiness. Such models tell people how to invest in domains of happiness (e.g., work vs. leisure) and how to choose activities within domains (e.g., playing a computer game vs. playing a board game). We illustrate this optimization approach with data from an online survey, in which people (n = 87) either recalled or imagined their happiness during common activities. People reported decelerating happiness over time, but the rate of deceleration differed among activities. On average, people imagined spending more time on each activity than would be needed to maximize happiness, suggesting that an optimality model has value for guiding decisions. We then discuss how such models can address sustainability challenges associated with overinvesting (e.g., excessive CO2 emissions). To optimize happiness and explore its implications for sustainability over long periods, models can incorporate psychological processes that alter the potential for happiness and demographic processes that make lifespan uncertain. In cases where less objective approaches have failed, a quantitative theory may improve opportunities for happiness, while meeting sustainability outcomes.
... houses or cars-is transient; thus, after a short period of time the well-being experiences obtained from these expensive commodities may not differ from those obtained from cheaper ones(DeLeire and Kalil 2010;Dumludag 2015;Okulicz-Kozaryn et al. 2015;Winkelmann 2012) ...
Chapter
In general terms the Latin American region is a middle-income one. On average, it is not a region where starvation and economic calamities prevail, but in some countries large segments of the population may be in difficult economic situation. The income situation usually attracts the attention of policy makers because a close and strong relations between income and well-being is assumed; however, this chapter shows that the relationship between income and well-being is neither simple nor straightforward; it also shows that economic growth is not necessarily associated to greater well-being.
... Not surprisingly, most studies have focused on the developed, affluent and industrialized countries to explore the relationship between happiness and consumption such as United States, Germany and China (Deleire and Kalil 2010;Headey et al. 2008;Noll and Weick 2015). The connection between happiness and consumption expenditure is of great interest to a developing country like Mauritius because over the last 50 years, the consumption patterns have altered drastically due to demographic changes and dynamic lifestyles. ...
Article
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Mainstream economics perceive an individual as highly individualistic, presuming that he/she consumes goods in the most efficient way to optimize his/her level of happiness. This study attempts to explore the nexus between socio-economic dimensions, basic needs, luxuries and personality traits and happiness in Mauritius. Material consumption and happiness are projected to be positively and strongly related. This is usually illuminated in terms of the increased possibilities to satisfy basic needs and luxuries along with other motives which additional spending provides. Other instrumental aspects of consumption, such as its relative, community-based and hedonic magnitudes are accounted. Cross-sectional data are compiled from a household survey with a sample size of 1015 observations. To conduct the analysis, an ordered probit model is applied. The general conclusion is drawn upon the results that socio-economic indicators like educational attainment, residential location, family size, income in addition to the intermediate needs deprivation index, brand consciousness, fashion innovativeness, commercial interest, shopping enjoyment, hedonism, bandwagon effect and personality traits are significantly related to people’s happiness.
... Materialists tend to boost their self-image, self-esteem and social status through material acquisition. Therefore; they tend to see materialism as a life-goal/ life value that they want to pursue it (Deleire& Kalil, 2010 ;Kilbourne, Grunhagen, & Foley, 2005). ...
Thesis
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Materialism reflects the importance that an individual associates to possessions and the enormity of the role these possessions play in his/her life, as they are assumed to be the basis of his/her satisfaction/dissatisfaction (Belk, 1985). Based on reviewing previous literature, nine independent variables were studied in order to find out to what extent they influence the adolescents’ desire to acquire materialistic items. This study aims to (1) identify the major determinants of adolescents’ materialism and (2) examine the relationship between adolescents’ materialism and purchasing behavior of fashion goods. This study extends the existing literature in consumer behavior by examining the relationships between certain determinants, adolescents’ materialism, and purchasing behavior toward fashion goods. The study is based on the theory of social comparison (Festinger, 1954) for better understanding of the proposed relationships. Further, a qualitative exploratory study was conducted through using in-depth interviews with 15 adolescents in order to determine what are the main motives that steer them to purchase materialistic goods. After that, 402 valid questionnaires were collected through a non-probability Quota sampling technique from the students who are enrolled in different educational institutions (e.g., private schools, international schools, national schools and private universities) in order to determine the main drivers behind adolescents’ materialism in Egypt. The data collected were analyzed using Exploratory factor analysis, Confirmatory Factor analysis and structural model (hypotheses testing) in order to test its reliability and validity.
... As a result, household members of all ages are more likely to report poor health (Gundersen and Kreider, 2009;McIntyre et al., 2013). In particular, forced food expenditure reduction increases the risk of diabetes (Berkowitz et al., 2015;Fernández et al., 2018), hypertension (Stuff et al., 2004), hyperlipidemia (Seligman et al., 2010), and heart disease (Vozoris and Tarasuk, 2003), as well as declines in SWB factors like life satisfaction (see, for instance, Deleire and Kalil, 2010;Dumludag, 2015). In addition to diagraming the above factors as a simple heuristic of possible mechanisms for the EP impact on depression in China (see Fig. 1), we formalize the EP-food expenditure relation as our second hypothesis: ...
Article
Using the 2012-2018 waves of the China Family Panel Studies, we investigate the impact of energy poverty (EP) on subjective well-being (SWB) among Chinese adults aged 18 and over. In addition to documenting EP rates in the range of 13.2% to 35.3% (dependent on measurement used), we show that EP leads to higher levels of depression. These results are robust to both alternative EP and SWB measures and to a series of estimation approaches that control for endogeneity. Structural equation modeling of the underlying mechanisms shows that individual self-reported health and household food expenditure mediate the EP-SWB relation.
... In a study in Japan Zhang and Xiong (2015) found that 41 out of the 77 consumption variables (monetary and nonmonetary) were significantly related to life satisfaction. Examining the association between various components of consumption expenditure and happiness, Deleire, and Kalil (2010), using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), found that spending on leisure goods and activities such as vacations, entertainment, sports, and leisure equipment is associated with higher levels of happiness. They did not find a significant correlation between happiness and other types of consumption such as food, utilities, and health care. ...
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In economic theory ‘consumption’ is commonly seen as final ‘utility’, but the factual relationship between consumption and life satisfaction has hardly been considered. Empirical research on this matter can provide a basis for more informed consumer choice. We add to the emerging literature on this matter with a survey study among the general public in Turkey. For the degree of absolute consumption, we found a negative relationship with life satisfaction, savers being happier than spenders. For kinds of consumption, we found mostly negative correlations with life satisfaction, in particular with housing expenses. The only positive correlation with life satisfaction was expensed on eating out and vacations. These results illustrate that the relationship between consumption and life satisfaction is more complex and variable than is commonly assumed.
... Social and leisure activities have a positive and significant effect on overall life satisfaction (Becchetti et al., 2012;DeLeire & Kalil, 2010) and tend to raise happiness (Lane, 2017). Moreover, DeLeire and Kalil (2010), considering nine expenditure categories, found that the only spending aggregate positively correlated with happiness is leisure consumption. ...
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This study aims to improve the regional well‐being literature on the so‐called “reversal issue” of the expenditure‐happiness nexus, accounting for two main sources of heterogeneity: degree of urbanization and individual spending habits. Moreover, we investigate the role of happiness across the entire expenditure distribution using a quantile modelling approach. The results show that satisfaction has a positive, significant and non‐linear effect on total expenditure across different urbanization categories. To better investigate the multidimensional nature of happiness, analysis of the nexus is expounded to different satisfaction domains and related spending aggregates offering a comprehensive and complex behavioural profile of individuals.
... Research on happiness has identified a wide range of factors explaining variations in life-evaluation among individuals. These factors can be divided into three main categories: economic variables (such as income, employments status), social factors (education, marital status, social capital) and health status (physical and mental) (DeLeire and Kalil 2010;Dolan et al. 2008;Frey and Stutzer 2002a, b;Helliwell et al. 2017;Kahneman et al. 1999;Powdthavee 2007;Rojas 2011). ...
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This study addresses an intriguing issue: does social integration impact on self-reported happiness? Can segregation overwhelm the effects of other determinants claimed to positively affect people’s well-being? Research on this topic normally focuses on racial-based segregation and international migration. This paper calls the attention to what happens when integration involves well-off internal migrants, i.e. off-site university students. Using survey data, we conduct an OPR to detect any relationship between integration and self-reported happiness, controlling for a set of individual characteristics and endogeneity. The results suggest that increased perceived lack of integration is associated with a reduction in happiness.
... Bronner and Hoog, 2019), they are more likely to participate in those luxury sports to gain face and avoid losing face. Moreover, spending behavior directly reflects the happiness that consumers gain from acquiring specific goods or services (DeLeire and Kalil, 2010;Perez-Truglia, 2013). Participating in sport leisure activities has some notable benefits, including enhancing physical and mental health, SW and quality of life (Keyes, 2006;Mirehiea and Gibson, 2020). ...
Article
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Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between leisure involvement (LI), conspicuous sport consumption and subjective well-being (SW) for two luxury leisure activities: golf and skiing. Design/methodology/approach The authors collected data from Guangdong Province (golf, n = 342) and Jilin Province (skiing, n = 310) and examined the proposed model using structural equation modeling (SEM) and tested the mediating effect of conspicuous sport consumption using bootstrapping method. Findings The findings show that the proposed model explained the relationships among LI, conspicuous sport consumption and SW. Furthermore, the findings suggest that LI and conspicuous consumption (CC) can elevate sport participants' perception of SW, enriching leisure-class theory. Originality/value The authors’ findings contribute to the domain of CC in sport participant and leisure research and provide significant implications for the sport tourism marketers.
... The relationship between subjective and material well-being is of primary interest in the Economics of Happiness literature, with empirical investigations mainly focused on the effect of economic variables such as unemployment, inflation, income and consumption on happiness (Carver and Grimes 2019;Clark 2017Clark , 2018Diener et al. 2015;DeLeire and Kalil 2010;Reyes-García et al. 2019;Yeniaras et al. 2016;Verme 2011). ...
Article
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In the last decades, the analysis of individual consumption behaviours has been enriched by considering several non-rational features of (i) self-perceptions and (ii) perceptions of peers that can affect people’s spending decisions, such as subjective well-being and feelings about different aspects of life, as well as measures of social comparison. However, at our knowledge, no studies have yet considered the two sources of emotionality simultaneously. This study aims to investigate the simultaneous role of these two emotional facets in affecting expenditure behaviours of Italian individuals for the year 2016, considering two measures of own satisfaction, relative quantities of SWB and expenditure, and inequality measures. Our results, controlling for potential sources of endogeneity, reveal a significant role of both aspects in influencing individuals’ spending habits.
... Happiness and subjective well-being might be obtained through social capital and leisure (Benjamin et al., 2015;Tsurumi et al., 2021). Several authors (DeLeire & Kalil, 2010;Noll & Weick, 2015;Tsurumi et al., 2021) suggest that a direct relationship can be found between relational consumption and eudaimonic and hedonic happiness. Moreover, the effect of relational consumption is higher than leisure activities (Tsurumi et al., 2021). ...
Article
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The Personal sense of uniqueness (PSU) is positively associated with subjective well-being and has been recently shown its correlation with happiness, influencing consumer's experience behavior. However, the effects of hedonic and eudaimonic experience on conspicuous and inconspicuous (consumer's need for status and inner fulfillment) are unknown. The purpose of this research is to address a gap existing in the literature by testing the effects of PSU on hedonic and eudaimonic leisure experiences and how happiness leisure experiences effects conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption. The relationships hypothesized in the model are tested using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) and bootstrapping procedure. Data was gathered using a self-administrated survey, answered by 200 consumers based on consumers' leisure experiences. The findings of this study suggest that (i) PSU positively and significantly influence hedonic and eudaimonic happiness; (ii) the effect of PSU on eudaimonic happiness is higher than in hedonic happiness; (iii) eudaimonic happiness positively and significantly influence conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption; and (iv) hedonic happiness negatively and significantly influence conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption. This study helps fill a gap in the literature by introducing and testing the effect of hedonic and eudaimonic leisure experiences and the relationship between these constructs and PSU and (in) conspicuous consumption.
... In fact, studies show that the psychological insurance provided by religious organizations might be more relevant. For example, Clark and Lelkes [4] find that church participation has stress-buffering effects on individuals experiencing unemployment or marital separation while DeLeire and Kalil [44] show that material consumption does not necessarily have significant positive effects on happiness. Similarly, Chaves [45] notes that benefits provided by religious organizations generally emphasize cultural more than material objectives. ...
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Current literature presents conflicting findings concerning the effect of religiosity on attitudes towards redistribution. This paper attempts to reconcile these findings by arguing that the belief and social behavior dimensions of religiosity affect support for redistribution via different mechanisms, and that these effects are moderated by state welfare generosity. Using multilevel path analysis models on data from the World Values Survey, we show that the effect of the religious belief on attitudes towards redistribution is mediated by competing personal orientations—prosocial values and conservative identification—while the religious social behavior dimension significantly decreases support for redistribution via increased levels of happiness. Lower levels of welfare generosity increase the positive effect of prosocial orientations and weaken the negative effect conservative identification, leading to positive or null indirect effect of religiosity. These findings show the importance of taking into account the multiple dimensions of religiosity and institutional context when studying the relationship between religion and redistribution attitudes.
... While water is a key factor in subjective well-being, once basic needs are met, higher water consumption does not necessarily contribute to greater well-being. DeLeire and Kalil (2010) analysed the relationship between different components of consumption expenditure and life satisfaction using an American sample, and found that consumption of utilities and housing -which includes water consumption -is not related to this dimension of subjective well-being. For a British sample, Chenoweth et al. (2016) found that in general there is no association between well-being and water consumption, although they reported negative correlations between water use and some individual well-being parameters. ...
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Water scarcity is already a worrying issue and it is predicted to get worse in the future. This creates an imperative to use water efficiently and sustainably. In the domestic sphere, one of the main uses of water is showering, not only for hygiene reasons but also as a wellness activity. In order to gain insight into the implications of sustainable shower use, in this paper we analyse the relationship between subjective well-being and water consumption in the shower. We aim to answer the following questions: 1) How does shower water consumption relate to subjective well-being, 2) Does this relationship differ depending on showering habits (time spent in the shower, and number of showers per week), and 3) Does this relationship differ depending on the season (winter and summer). The dataset contains information on 937 students from different disciplines at the University of Granada, Spain. The different interpretations of subjective well-being considered are life satisfaction, affect, and vitality. Results suggest that there is a negative relationship between water consumption and subjective well-being, in line with the literature that identifies a well-being dividend from green behaviour (being pro-environmental helps the environment and increases happiness). All subjective well-being dimensions are negatively related to time spent in the shower, regardless of the season. In contrast, the frequency of showering is not significantly related to well-being. Therefore, it appears that higher water consumption does not translate into higher perceived well-being, indicating that there is no conflict between efficient shower water use and individual well-being.
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This paper studies how consumption expenditures, especially spending on certain types of goods and services, affect people’s life satisfaction. The results demonstrate that conspicuous (i.e., visible and positional) spending increases life satisfaction. The analysis suggests that it is one’s conspicuous consumption expenditures relative to those of other households in one’s reference group that really matter. In contrast, savings and spending on basic goods and services, the less visible components of income, do not contribute to life satisfaction. This paper also evaluates the often-discussed relationship between income and life satisfaction, finding that the relationship is largely driven by conspicuous spending. Evidence of relationship heterogeneity across income groups is presented: conspicuous consumption expenditures have a positive influence on life satisfaction for individuals in all income groups; basic consumption expenditures, however, have a negative influence for people in the lowest income quartile. The findings of this paper underscore the importance of social comparisons to people’s well-being and imply that interdependence should be modeled in utility functions. The results are based on the Arellano–Bond generalized method of moments estimation, which controls for bias from unobserved individual heterogeneity and endogenous variables. The data come from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (2006–2010).
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Previous studies on the relationship between consumption and subjective well-being do assume that well-being emerges out of the relationship between the person and her consumption bundle, with no role at all for contextual factors such as other people’s consumption.
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Memorable Ecotourism Experiences (MEEs) play a key role in obtaining tourist’s satisfaction and loyalty in sustaining the ecotourism destination. Although, MTEs has been recognised as a crucial area of tourism studies since 2010, but still there is a lack of study that explore all dimensions or constructs of MTEs. Most of the recent studies only tested eight significant constructs and ignored the remaining constructs. Therefore, this study aim to examine the dimensions that influences the memorable ecotourism experiences in Taman Negara, Pahang Malaysia. Subsequently, to propose a MEEs model. In order to fill the literature gap, a pilot test was conducted in April 2018 with a sample of 40 tourists to Taman Negara, Pahang, Malaysia. These preliminary results indicated that 15 out of 22 constructs (hedonism, knowledge, meaningfulness, local culture, novelty-familiarity, involvement, refreshing, destination attributes, service, participation, freeing, adverse feeling, socialization, nature and education awareness) were significantly influencing the MEEs in Taman Negara. The study recommends further studies to be conducted to explore all 22 proposed constructs in a variety of ecotourism sector.
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Background: Since the early 1980s, many governments have investigated the possibility of utilising access to microloans as a pathway to grow economies out of unemployment and thereby improve people’s quality of life. Studies that have previously investigated the impact of microloans found a positive effect on quality of life. Unfortunately, these mainly measure quality of life using monetary (income) measures rather than assessing the entire multidimensionality of quality of life. Aim: This article investigates the relationship between objective multidimensional income-independent quality of life (IIQoL) and having access to micro- and informal loans (M&ILs). Specifically, we focus on South Africa’s most marginalised – ‘poor females’ and ‘poor females residing in rural areas’ – as their empowerment is a critical social objective aligned to that of international agencies. Setting: This study investigates the relationship between IIQoL and access to M&ILs in South Africa. Methods: We use a panel data set spanning four waves from 2008 to 2015 of the National Income Dynamics Survey. Principal component analysis is used to construct the IIQoL index and various panel and survey estimation techniques are applied in the regression analyses. Results: M&ILs are significant and negatively related to IIQoL for both ‘poor females’ and ‘poor females residing in rural areas’. This implies that those with loans failed to translate those monetary gains into higher levels of IIQoL over time. Conclusion: Access to M&ILs is not succeeding in raising the quality of life of South Africa’s most marginalised groups. Without intervention and education programmes imbedded within microloan initiatives, the marginalised will not experience an increase in their non-income quality of life.
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The focus of conspicuous consumption is shifting from luxury goods to time. In a series of studies in America and Italy, Bellezza et al. (2017) explored how conspicuous busyness and lack of leisure time influence perceived status. We replicate their findings in Germany and extend their research by considering conspicuous leisure on Facebook. We find that leisure activities like travel, cultural events, and dining out lead to even higher perceived status than busyness at work.
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Previous research has shown that leverage has a positive effect on wages. Using US state-level labour protection laws as an exogenous shock, we find that the adoption of the law alleviates the effect of leverage on wages. We show that the mitigating effect on the leverage-wage relationship is more pronounced for firms with strong employee bargaining power. Our study highlights the positive role played by labour protection laws in lowering firms’ labour costs and improving their financial flexibility, which complements the literature and advances our understanding of the broad implications of labour protection laws.
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Food insecurity continues to affect a significant number of U.S. households, even during periods of economic growth and prosperity. Household food insecurity in the U.S. is measured with the Food Security Core Survey Module, which reflects the importance of household financial resource con­straint as the ultimate cause of food insecurity. While the module recognizes some of the strategies households employ to cope with food hardships, it hardly encompasses the salient strategies common­ly used by low-income families. The purpose of this study is to identify the major strategies low-income households employ to cope with their food insecurity, and to gain insight into the process they go through toward making ends meet and into how the process may affect their sense of overall happiness. To this end, a survey instrument[1] was developed and administered to low-income house­holds in two public housing communities in Atlanta, Georgia. The results indicated that the majority of the sampled households, even those classified as food secure, report insufficiency of income to cover their monthly expenses. As a consequence, they employed a number of coping strategies to make ends meet. These included forgoing or delaying purchases of non-food items and borrowing or seeking help from friends and relatives. The study also found a mismatch between household self-assessment of their food conditions and food-security level classification. Despite the severity of coping strategies used, some households reported overall happiness with their lives, although, for the majority, the results suggested a positive association between percep­tions of food sufficiency and a sense of overall happiness. [1] The survey instrument it is available from the corresponding author upon request.
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This paper documents a comprehensive theoretical framework that has been developed to understand conspicuous consumption behavior. The proposed framework identifies three antecedents and two consequences of conspicuous consumption. We tested hypotheses concerning this framework using a meta-analytic approach. We also meta-analytically tested the effect of contextual, methodological, and individual-level moderators on the relationship between conspicuous consumption and its consequences. Additionally, we examined the mediating role of conspicuous consumption behavior in the relationship between its antecedents and consequences using meta-analytic structural equation modeling. After an extensive literature search based on multiple selection criteria, we use 59 independent research studies and 97 unique effect sizes to test hypotheses. The findings theoretically contribute to the stock of knowledge on conspicuous consumption and provide new insights for practitioners.
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Experienced-based food insecurity is one of the critical aspects to judge people's well-being. However, its association with subjective happiness has remained unclear. This study aimed to investigate the relation and contribution of household food insecurity status on subjective happiness. A paper-based survey was conducted in a total of 150 socioeconomically disadvantaged households in three megacities in Indonesia (Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya). The main scales adapted were the Experience-Based Food Security Scale (EBFSS) and the Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS). In this study, logistic regression models were employed. Experiencing food insecurity explained participants' lower levels of subjective happiness. The results indicate that the subjective well-being of socioeconomically disadvantaged people can also be improved through food security-oriented strategies.
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En este artículo llevamos a cabo una extensa revisión de la literatura científica en lo relativo a los vínculos entre materialismo y felicidad, desde un enfoque multidisciplinar que incluye la psicología, la comunicación, la economía y la ética. La línea dominante en la bibliografía insiste en vincular un mayor materialismo con una menor auto-percepción de felicidad y de bienestar, y con una mayor propensión a la depresión. En esta revisión atendemos a los aspectos que así lo evidencian, al rumbo actual de las investigaciones y a los retos aún pendientes de clarificación por parte de la comunidad investigadora.
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Four replicable findings have emerged regarding the relation between income and subjective well-being (SWB): 1. There are large correlations between the wealth of nations and the mean reports of SWB in them, 2. There are mostly small correlations between income and SWB within nations, although these correlations appear to be larger in poor nations, and the risk of unhappiness is much higher for poor people, 3. Economic growth in the last decades in most economically developed societies has been accompanied by little rise in SWB, and increases in individual income lead to variable outcomes, and 4. People who prize material goals more than other values tend to be substantially less happy, unless they are rich. Thus, more money may enhance SWB when it means avoiding poverty and living in a developed nation, but income appears to increase SWB little over the long-term when more of it is gained by well-off individuals whose material desires rise with their incomes. Several major theories are compatible with most existing findings: A. The idea that income enhances SWB only insofar as it helps people meet their basic needs, and B. The idea that the relation between income and SWB depends on the amount of material desires that people’s income allows them to fulfill. We argue that the first explanation is a special case of the second one. A third explanation is relatively unresearched, the idea that societal norms for production and consumption are essential to understanding the SWB-income interface. In addition, it appears high SWB might increase people’s chances for high income. We review the open issues relating income to SWB, and describe the research methods needed to provide improved data that will better illuminate the psychological processes relating money to SWB.
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We evaluate consumption and income measures of the material well-being of the poor. We begin with conceptual and pragmatic reasons that favor income or consumption. Then, we empirically examine the quality of standard data by studying measurement error and under-reporting, and by comparing micro-data from standard surveys to administrative micro-data and aggregates. We also compare low reports of income and consumption to other measures of hardship and well-being. The closer link between consumption and well-being and its better measurement favors the use of consumption when setting benefits and evaluating transfer programs. However, income retains its convenience for determining program eligibility.
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Happiness research is based on the idea that it is fruitful to study empirical measures of individual welfare. The most common is the answer to a simple well-being question such as "Are you Happy?" Hundreds of thousands of individuals have been asked this question, in many countries and over many years. Researchers have begun to use these data to tackle a variety of important questions in economics. Some require strong assumptions concerning interpersonal comparisons of utility, but others make only mild assumptions in this regard. They range from microeconomic questions, such as the way income and utility are connected, to macroeconomic questions such as the tradeoff between inflation and unemployment, including large areas in political economy. Public policy is another area where progress using happiness data is taking place. Given the central role of utility notions in economic theory, we argue that the use of happiness data in empirical research should be given serious consideration.
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The CES-D scale is a short self-report scale designed to measure depressive symptomatology in the general population. The items of the scale are symptoms associated with depression which have been used in previously validated longer scales. The new scale was tested in household interview surveys and in psychiatric settings. It was found to have very high internal consistency and adequate test- retest repeatability. Validity was established by pat terns of correlations with other self-report measures, by correlations with clinical ratings of depression, and by relationships with other variables which support its construct validity. Reliability, validity, and factor structure were similar across a wide variety of demographic characteristics in the general population samples tested. The scale should be a useful tool for epidemiologic studies of de pression.
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During the most recent decades people in the US have reported both a stagnant or even declining subjective well-being, as Easterlin (Easterlin, R.A., 1974. Does economic growth improve the human lot? Some empirical evidence. In: David, P.A., Melvin, W.R. (Eds.), Nations and Households in Economic Growth. Academic Press, New York, pp. 89–125) originally observed, and deterioration in their social and family ties, as Putnam (Putnam, R.D. (2000). Bowling Alone. Simon&Schuster, New York) has claimed. The paper proposes an integrated explanation of these two stylised facts by extending the analysis of the relative income explanation of the Easterlin paradox to social relationships as enjoyable ends of choice. Drawing on the evidence-based results of psychology, the paper constructs a model whose premises are (i) that individuals produce social relationships by means of relational ability, (ii) that this ability is primarily shaped during infancy, and (iii) that commercial pressure on children to consume in competition with others may displace the enjoyment of social relationships. The model is thus also able to explain the case of rich countries, like Sweden, that devote relatively more human and material resources than the US to children and adolescents, and that experience both increasing subjective well-being and improving social capital.
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This paper examines whether involvement with religious organizations can help insure consumption and happiness. Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX), we find that households who contribute to a religious organization are better able to insure their consumption against income shocks. Using the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), we find that individuals who attend religious services are better able to insure their happiness against income shocks. Overall, our results suggest that religious organizations provide insurance though the form of this insurance may differ by race.
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Video-based media spaces are designed to support casual interaction between intimate collaborators. Yet transmitting video is fraught with privacy concerns. Some researchers suggest that the video stream be filtered to mask out potentially sensitive ...
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Using nationally representative data on consumption, we show that Blacks and Hispanics devote larger shares of their expenditure bundles to visible goods (clothing, jewelry, and cars) than do comparable Whites. These differences exist among virtually all subpopulations, are relatively constant over time, and are economically large. Although racial differences in utility preference parameters might account for a portion of these consumption differences, we emphasize instead a model of status seeking in which conspicuous consumption is used as a costly indicator of a household's economic position. Using merged data on race- and state-level income, we demonstrate that a key prediction of the status-signaling model—that visible consumption should be declining in reference group income—is strongly borne out in the data for each racial group. Moreover, we show that accounting for differences in reference group income characteristics explains most of the racial difference in visible consumption.
Article
One area of positive psychology analyzes subjective well-being (SWB), people's cognitive and affective evaluations of their lives. Progress has been made in understanding the components of SWB, the importance of adaptation and goals to feelings of well-being, the temperament underpinnings of SWB, and the cultural influences on well-being. Representative selection of respondents, naturalistic experience sampling measures, and other methodological refinements are now used to study SWB and could be used to produce national indicators of happiness.
Article
Subjective well-being is known to be related to personality traits. However, to date, nobody has examined whether personality and subjective well-being share a common genetic structure. We used a representative sample of 973 twin pairs to test the hypothesis that heritable differences in subjective well-being are entirely accounted for by the genetic architecture of the Five-Factor Model's personality domains. Results supported this model. Subjective well-being was accounted for by unique genetic influences from Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Conscientiousness, and by a common genetic factor that influenced all five personality domains in the directions of low Neuroticism and high Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. These findings indicate that subjective well-being is linked to personality by common genes and that personality may form an "affective reserve" relevant to set-point maintenance and changes in set point over time.
Article
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.
Article
This paper tests for the importance of nonpecuniary costs of unemployment using a longitudinal data-set on life-satisfaction of working-age men in Germany. The authors show that unemployment has a large detrimental effect on satisfaction after individual specific fixed effects are controlled for. The nonpecuniary effect is much larger than the effect that stems from the associated loss of income. Copyright 1998 by The London School of Economics and Political Science
Article
Today, as in the past, within a country at a given time those with higher incomes are, on average, happier. However, raising the incomes of all does not increase the happiness of all. This is because the material norms on which judgments of well-being are based increase in the same proportion as the actual income of the society. These conclusions are suggested by data on reported happiness, material norms, and income collected in surveys in a number of countries over the past half century.
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