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The Origins of HappinessThe Science of Well-Being over the Life Course$
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Andrew Clark, Sarah Fléche, Richard Layard, Nattavudh Powdthavee, and George Ward

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196336

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196336.001.0001

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(p.33) 2 Income
The Origins of Happiness

Andrew E. Clark

Sarah Flèche

Richard Layard

Nattavudh Powdthavee

George Ward

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows that, while happiness is not the same with income, income still affects happiness. Indeed, the effect of income on happiness is one of the best-measured effects in all happiness research. It presents the evidence to this effect. Again, the chapter begins with evidence from the British Cohort Study, mostly cross-sectional. It then goes on to time-series data on individuals drawn from three panel studies for Britain, Germany, and Australia, as well as cross-section data on the United States. The chapter also examines the key role of social comparisons and adaptation, before tracing how the income factor is determined by earlier childhood experiences.

Keywords:   income, time-series data, social comparisons, adaptation, childhood experiences, happiness, British Cohort Study

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