Economic Growth Evens-Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys

 
By: Andrew E. Clark (EEP-PSE – Ecole d’Économie de Paris – Paris School of Economics – Ecole d’Économie de Paris, PSE – Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques – CNRS : UMR8545 – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) – École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) – École normale supérieure [ENS] – Paris – Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA))
Sarah Flèche (EEP-PSE – Ecole d’Économie de Paris – Paris School of Economics – Ecole d’Économie de Paris, PSE – Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques – CNRS : UMR8545 – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) – École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) – École normale supérieure [ENS] – Paris – Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA))
Claudia Senik (EEP-PSE – Ecole d’Économie de Paris – Paris School of Economics – Ecole d’Économie de Paris, PSE – Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques – CNRS : UMR8545 – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) – École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) – École normale supérieure [ENS] – Paris – Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA), UP4 – Université Paris 4, Paris-Sorbonne – Université Paris IV – Paris Sorbonne – Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique)
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00936145&r=ltv
In spite of the great U-turn that saw income inequality rise in Western countries in the 1980s, happiness inequality has dropped in countries that have experienced income growth (but not in those that did not). Modern growth has reduced the share of both the “very unhappy” and the “perfectly happy”. The extension of public amenities has certainly contributed to this greater happiness homogeneity. This new stylized fact comes as an addition to the Easterlin paradox, offering a somewhat brighter perspective for developing countries.
Keywords: Happiness ; Inequality ; Economic growth ; Development ; Easterlin paradox
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