Is the Just Man a Happy Man? An Empirical Study of the Relationship between Ethics and Subjective Well-Being

20 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011

See all articles by Harvey S. James, Jr.

Harvey S. James, Jr.

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2011

Abstract

This paper uses data from the 2005-2006 wave of the World Values Survey to answer the question of whether ethical decision-making affects a person's happiness. Regression analyses focusing on the four largest economies in North and South America (the United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil) reveal a generally positive relationship between ethics and happiness. In particular, respondents who do not justify unethical actions have higher reported well-being than those who are more accepting of such actions, after controlling for factors identified in the literature as important correlates of happiness and well-being. The effect of ethics on happiness is roughly similar to that of a modest increase in income, being married and attending church, while the effect is smaller than that of having poor health or being dissatisfied with one's personal finances.

Suggested Citation

James, Harvey S., Is the Just Man a Happy Man? An Empirical Study of the Relationship between Ethics and Subjective Well-Being (May 2011). Kyklos, Vol. 64, Issue 2, pp. 193-212, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1810260 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6435.2011.00502.x

Harvey S. James (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences ( email )

Columbia, MO
United States
573-884-9682 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://hsjames2.wordpress.com

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