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Is There an "Iron Law of Happiness"?

Richard A. Easterlin

No 05.8, IEPR Working Papers from Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR)

Abstract: Contrary to the setpoint model of some psychologists, individual happiness does not tend to fluctuate around a constant level. Although the personality and genetic factors emphasized by setpoint theorists are important in explaining individual differences in happiness at a point in time, survey evidence demonstrates that over the life cycle economic circumstances, family life, health, and work are important in determining the course of happiness. However, life events do not necessarily dominate life cycle satisfaction in different domains, and economic theories of well-being would benefit from following psychologists’ lead by incorporating goals and adaptation.

Keywords: Happiness; Aspirations; Adaptation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D60 I31 A12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2005-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo and nep-hpe
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