Tuesday, October 28, 2008

hedonistic paradox

A recent paper in Journal of Public Economics explores the idea that more altruistic people are happier than people who are greedy. Using evidence from combining well-being measures, psychometric markers and information on play in dictator games they find evidence for personality traits leading people toward greater levels of both giving and happiness. The authors conclude that "The results of this and other studies raise the question of whether greater attention should be paid to the potential benefits (beyond solely the material ones) of policies that promote charitable donations, volunteerism, service education, and, more generally, community involvement, political action, and social institutions that foster psychological well-being." Perhaps the 1 per cent levy imposed here in Ireland to finance the recent budget will cheer everyone up!

Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February. [Downloadable!] (restricted)

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