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Just a perfect day? Developing a happiness optimised day schedule

Christian Kroll and Sebastian Pokutta

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2013, vol. 34, issue C, 210-217

Abstract: With the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM), Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz, and Stone (2004) introduced an important approach in subjective well-being (SWB) research to explore how people experience daily activities. A major unresolved question for laypeople and scholars alike resulting from this research, however, is the neglect of saturation and scarcity effects in this area of study. To fill this gap, we apply methods from optimisation research to the field of SWB. Combining utility functions with DRM data allows us to generate an optimal day schedule: It differs considerably from how people usually spend their time, whereby the distribution of activities is remarkably even. The results show how a paradigm shift away from a focus on increasing Gross Domestic Product towards greater well-being at the macrolevel could play out at the microlevel with potential consequences for how we might live our day-to-day lives.

Keywords: Day Reconstruction Method; Time use; Affect; Subjective well-being; Optimisation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C61 I10 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2012.09.015

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