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Are Happy People Ethical People? Evidence from North America and Europe

Harvey James ()

Microeconomics from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: This paper contributes to the growing literature on happiness research by examining whether happiness affects the ethical decisions of individuals. First, a recursive model of ethical decision making is developed in which an agent's utility is assumed to be a function of money, ethical decisions, and happiness, where happiness is defined as the agent's utility obtained at the end of the previous period. Second, the model is tested using data from North American and European respondents in the 1995-1997 wave of the World Values Survey. The findings suggest that happiness affects ethical judgments consistent with the recursive model.

Keywords: Happiness economics; ethics; utility theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 D99 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003-03-12
Note: Type of Document - Microsoft Word 2000; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP; pages: 24; figures: included
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