Happiness and Economic Growth: Lessons from Developing Countries

Hardcover | December 1, 2014

EditorAndrew E.Clark, Claudia Senik

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This volume, arising from a PSE-CEPREMAP-DIMeco conference, includes contributions by the some of the best-known researchers in happiness economics and development economics, including Richard Easterlin, who gave his name to the "Easterlin paradox" that GDP growth does not improve happinessover the long run. Many chapters underline the difficulty of increasing well-being in developing countries, including China, even in the presence of sustained income growth. This is notably due to the importance of income comparisons to others, adaptation (so that we get used to higher income), andthe growing inequality of income. In particular, rank in the local income distribution is shown to be important, creating a beggar-thy-neighbour effect in happiness. Wealth comparisons in China are exacerbated by the gender imbalance, as the competition for brides creates a striking phenomenon ofconspicuous consumption on the housing market. Policy has to be aware of these effects. This applies in particular to those who try to use self-reported subjective well-being in order to generate a "social subjective poverty line", which is a key issue in developing countries. However, the news is not only bad from the point of view of developing countries. One piece of good news is that GDP growth often seems to go hand-in-hand with lower happiness inequality, and thereby reduces the risk of extreme unhappiness.

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This volume, arising from a PSE-CEPREMAP-DIMeco conference, includes contributions by the some of the best-known researchers in happiness economics and development economics, including Richard Easterlin, who gave his name to the "Easterlin paradox" that GDP growth does not improve happinessover the long run. Many chapters underline the...

Andrew E. Clark is a CNRS Research Professor at the Paris School of Economics (PSE). He previously held posts at Dartmouth, Essex, CEPREMAP, DELTA, the OECD, and the University of Orleans. His work has largely focussed on the interface between psychology, sociology and economics; in particular, using job and life satisfaction scores, ...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:December 1, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198723652

ISBN - 13:9780198723653

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Table of Contents

Andrew Clark and Claudia Senik: Introduction1. Richard Easterlin: Life Satisfaction in the Transition from Socialism to CapitalismYann Algan: Discussion2. Andrew Clark, Sarah Fleche, and Claudia Senik: The Great Happiness Moderation: Well-Being Inequality during Episodes of Income GrowthPaul Seabright: Discussion3. Martin Ravallion: Poor, or Just Feeling Poor? On Using Subjective Data in Measuring PovertyKatia Zhuravskaya: Discussion4. John Knight and Ramani Gunatilaka: Subjective Well-Being and Social Evaluation: a Case Study of ChinaXiaobo Zhang: Discussion5. Andrew Clark and Claudia Senik: Income comparisons in ChinaAda Ferrer-i-Carbonell: Discussion6. Stefan Lollivier, Conal Smith, Martin Ravallion, and Richard Easterlin: Hapiness and Economic Growth: A Panel Discussion7. Carol Graham: Concluding Remarks: How Inequality Matters to Well-Being: Agency, Adaptation, and Changes versus Levels