User Tools

    To create and edit articles, please register and log-in

Main Menu : categories & index etc.

Main menu
Click categories to expand

A-Z listingplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigA-Z listing

This is an alphabetical index of all content pages.

Other categories



Also see

Importance Ratings
Curator's rationale
AI Policy

Twitter feed 𝕏

Feeds + s.e.o. etc.
rss / xml feed
sitemap file
A-Z listing (archived)

Indexed under : Psychology / General

Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

The Easterlin paradox

It's probably not surprising that the inhabitants of poorer countries tend to say, when asked in surveys, that they are not particularly happy (as compared to survey respondents in well-off countries).

And, over many years of research, it's been confirmed that, when surveyed, the population of countries with high(er) Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) tend in general to say they're 'happier' than those in low GDP countries.

But, in 1974, US-based professor of economics Richard Easterlin suggested there might be an associated paradox. According to the professor's research, if a country's GDP rises over time, there's no corresponding increase in the happiness of the population.

Put formally, the Easterlin Paradox states that :

“At a point in time happiness varies directly with income, both among and within nations, but over time happiness does not trend upward in correspondence with income growth.” ref.

The original dataset was purely US based, but now similar results have been found across a wide range of countries.

Various explanations have been offered as a way of explaining the paradox :

  • Income may be evaluated relative to others (social comparison), or to oneself in the past (habituation). ref.
  • People may simply 'get used' to (i.e. habituate to) having their income gradually increase ref.

Other research groups assert that the paradox isn't real - either because of claims that the original research wasn't robust enough, or because in some countries people do report they're happier over time - see Wikipedia

Prof. Easterlin, however, has rebutted such assertions in his 2020 IZA Institute of Labor Economics working paper The Easterlin Paradox DP No. 13923

“Critics of the Paradox mistakenly present the positive relation of happiness to income in cross-section data or in short-term time fluctuations as contradicting the nil relation of long-term trends.”

Also see :Happiness and ageingplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigHappiness and ageing

In general, people tend to be 'happiest' (or at least say they are) between the ages of 60 - 75. The effect, which various research groups have now verified in more than 70 countries, has yet to be explained.

Other researchers say the effect is to…

    Please share this page to help promote Wikenigma !

Dear reader : Do you have any suggestions for the site's content?

Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for older ones, are always welcome.

If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !

Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.

( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)

Automatic Translation

You are currently viewing an auto-translated version of Wikenigma

Please be aware that no automatic translation engines are 100% accurate, and so the auto-translated content will very probably feature errors and omissions.

Nevertheless, Wikenigma hopes that the translated content will help to attract a wider global audience.

Show another (random) article

Further resources :