Economic Growth Evens-Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys

By: Andrew E. Clark (PSE – Paris School of Economics, PSE – Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques – CNRS – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – INRA – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique – EHESS – École des hautes études en sciences sociales – ENS Paris – École normale supérieure – Paris – École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC)) ; Sarah Flèche (Centre for Economic Performance – LSE – London School of Economics and Political Science) ; Claudia Senik (PSE – Paris School of Economics, PSE – Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques – CNRS – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – INRA – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique – EHESS – École des hautes études en sciences sociales – ENS Paris – École normale supérieure – Paris – École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), UP4 – Université Paris-Sorbonne)
In spite of the great U-turn that saw income inequality rise in Western countries in the 1980s, happiness inequality has fallen 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”. Lower happiness inequality is found both between and within countries, and between and within individuals. Our cross-country regression results argue that the extension of various public goods helps to explain this greater happiness homogeneity. This new stylised fact arguably comes as a bonus to the Easterlin paradox, offering a somewhat brighter perspective for developing countries.
Keywords: development,economic growth,inequality,Happiness,Easterlin paradox
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-01080877&r=ltv

 

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