American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 3 (May 2013)


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Two Happiness Puzzles

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Deaton, Angus, and Arthur A. Stone. 2013. "Two Happiness Puzzles." American Economic Review, 103(3): 591-97.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.591


We consider two happiness puzzles. First, many studies show that only relative income matters for well-being. Yet the Gallup data for the United States and from the rest of the world show no such result, at least for life evaluation. There may be relative income effects in hedonic well-being though other interpretations are available. Second, more religious people typically report higher experiential well-being but more religious places have worse well-being on average, both across US states and across countries. More religious states and counties in the US also have worse murder rates, deaths from cardiovascular disease and from cancer.

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Deaton, Angus (Princeton U)
Stone, Arthur A. (Stony Brook U, SUNY)

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I31: General Welfare

American Economic Review

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