On the Causes and Consequences of Hedonic Adaptation
19 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2009 Last revised: 6 Aug 2012
Date Written: May 1, 2010
We provide a simple evolutionary explanation for the emergence of hedonic adaptation. The model's key assumption is that, apart from guiding long-term behavior, some sensations fulfill warning and defense roles (e.g., pain). Contrary to the alternative evolutionary explanations for hedonic adaptation (Robson, 2002; Rayo and Becker, 2007), our theory can explain why some sensations are adaptive, while others (with warning/defense roles) are not adaptive at all. Finally, we show that differential adaptation has important welfare and policy implications.
Keywords: hedonic adaptation, evolution, expectations, decision utility, experienced utility
JEL Classification: B52, D03, I00, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation