Happiness and Domain Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence

34 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2007

See all articles by Richard A. Easterlin

Richard A. Easterlin

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

Onnicha Sawangfa

University of Southern California, Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2007

Abstract

In the United States happiness, on average, varies positively with socio-economic status; is fairly constant over time; rises to midlife and then declines; and is lower among younger than older birth cohorts. These four patterns of mean happiness can be predicted rather closely from the mean satisfaction people report with each of four domains - finances, family life, work, and health. Even though the domain satisfaction patterns typically differ from each other and from that for happiness, they come together in a way that explains quite well the overall patterns of happiness. The importance of any given domain depends on the happiness relation under study (by socio-economic status, time, age or birth cohort), and no single domain is invariably the key to happiness.

JEL Classification: I3, D60, D1, O51

Suggested Citation

Easterlin, Richard A. and Sawangfa, Onnicha, Happiness and Domain Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence (January 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2584; USC CLEO Research Paper No. C07-2; IEPR Working Paper No. 07.5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=961644

Richard A. Easterlin (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3620 South Vermont Ave. Kaprielian (KAP) Hall, 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Onnicha Sawangfa

University of Southern California, Department of Economics ( email )

University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0253
United States
213-740-2112 (Phone)

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