Does Money Buy Happiness? Evidence from China

A new report by Richard Easterlin, a pioneer of the study of the link between income and happiness, looks into whether China’s income growth has made people happier. He writes: “In the past quarter century China’s real GDP per capita has multiplied over five times, an unprecedented feat.1 By 2012 virtually every urban household had, on average, a color TV, air conditioner, washing machine, and refrigerator. Almost nine in ten had a personal computer, and one in five, an automobile. Rural households lagged somewhat behind urban, but these same symptoms of affluence, which were virtually nonexistent in the countryside in 1990, had become quite common by 2012.2 In the face of such new-found plenitude, one would suppose that the population’s feelings of well-being would have enjoyed a similar multiplication. Yet, as will be discussed, well-being today is probably less than in 1990.” The full report is worth reading.

Posted by at 9:04 AM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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