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Is there a kink in the happiness literature?
Published August 1, 2016

One of the early key empirical findings of the happiness literature is that at higher levels of per capita real income there appears to be diminishing returns to income at least with regards to marginal changes in ‘happiness’ measured by various survey instruments. Although these results have been recently challenged, these earlier findings... and the results of many contemporary studies suggest that an inelastic relationship exists between real per capita income and happiness after a relatively low threshold of per capita income is reached. Appling some of the results of prospect theory I argue that even if it were true that the marginal effect of income on happiness is zero, a reduction in income would probably reduce the level of happiness, yielding a kink in the ‘happiness curve’. Also, applying a target income approach to the happiness literature, one can argue that pursuing higher target income, in itself, is a means of increasing life satisfaction. These two theoretical instruments yield results consistent with some of the most recent empirical finding based on Gallup Poll Survey data. In addition, applying insights from the capabilities approach, I argue, that increasing income is a means of purchasing the capabilities to increase individual levels of happiness through the production of public goods, such as health care and education. A given marginal increase in income need not generate any increase in happiness if this income increase is highly unequally distributed in a population or is not used to purchase goods and services that contribute to increases in the level of happiness.

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A note on the measurement of the relationship between happiness and GDP
Published August 1, 2016

This research note compares the results of the measurement of the relationship between happiness and GDP in the EU based upon unweighted data with the results based upon weighted data. The data are weighted in order to correct for the different sizes of the populations in the EU countries concerned. The result of the weighing is an even stronge...r relationship between happiness and GDP per capita than in the case with unweighted data.

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Transition economy and happiness the Czech Republic compared with the Netherlands in the 1990- 2004 period
Published August 1, 2016

The paper deals with the subject Transition economy and happiness – a case study of the Czech Republic in a comparison with The Netherlands in the 1990- 2004 period. The paper addresses the following two questions: 1. How has the level of happiness changed since 1990 in the Czech Republic and in The Netherlands? 2. Are there differences with ...respect to variables that explain differences in happiness between both countries. It appears that. at the beginning of the 1990s of the last century, the Czechs were less happy than the Dutch and, that, people in the Czech Republic were less happy in 1999 than they were in 2004. Furthermore, Happiness in the Czech Republic is approaching the level of happiness in The Netherlands. In both countries happiness is positively affected by subjective health status, perceived freedom of choice over life, being married or living together and satisfaction with one’s financial situation and having trust in social institutions. But there are differences with respect to the impact of age, education and religion .

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