Is There an 'Iron Law of Happiness?'

35 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2005

See all articles by Richard A. Easterlin

Richard A. Easterlin

University of Southern California - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: January 2005

Abstract

Contrary to the setpoint model of some psychologists, individual happiness does not tend to fluctuate around a constant level. Although the personality and genetic factors emphasized by setpoint theorists are important in explaining individual differences in happiness at a point in time, survey evidence demonstrates that over the life cycle economic circumstances, family life, health, and work are important in determining the course of happiness. However, life events do not necessarily dominate life cycle satisfaction in different domains, and economic theories of well-being would benefit from following psychologists' lead by incorporating goals and adaptation.

Suggested Citation

Easterlin, Richard A., Is There an 'Iron Law of Happiness?' (January 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=653543 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.653543

Richard A. Easterlin (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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