How are You, My Dearest Mozart? Well-Being and Creativity of Three Famous Composers Based on their Letters

Discussion Papers on Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, 20/2013

60 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2013 Last revised: 13 Apr 2016

Date Written: December 19, 2013

Abstract

The well-being of a person is reflected in the language used. Building on 1,400 letters written by three famous music composers, I obtain well-being indices that span their lifetime. The validity of this methodology is shown by linking the indices with biographical information and through estimation of the determinants of well-being. I find, consistent with the literature, that work-related engagements and accomplishments are positively related with well-being, while poor health or death of a relative is detrimental. I then exploit the data and provide quantitative evidence on the existence of a causal impact of negative emotions on outstanding creativity, an association hypothesized across several disciplines since the Antiquity; however, not yet convincingly established for the case of extraordinary achievers.

Keywords: Well-being, happiness, positive emotions, negative emotions, creativity, health, labor, composer, letters, methodology, music history

JEL Classification: D60, I31, J24, N33, Z11

Suggested Citation

Borowiecki, Karol, How are You, My Dearest Mozart? Well-Being and Creativity of Three Famous Composers Based on their Letters (December 19, 2013). Discussion Papers on Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, 20/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2368863 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2368863

Karol Borowiecki (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

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