mercoledì 2 marzo 2016

Stevenson and Wolfers' Flawed Happiness Research By Eric Falkenstein

Stevenson and Wolfers' Flawed Happiness Research By Eric Falkenstein - #ovoidesimmetrico #felicitàabreve #invidiaegoismo #soldiefelicità
  • Stevenson and Wolfers' Flawed Happiness Research By Eric Falkenstein
  • what's wrong with so many academic debates.
  • Richard Easterlin found that within a given country people with higher incomes were more likely to report being happy. However, between developed countries, the average reported level of happiness did not vary much...
  • Similarly, although income per person rose steadily in the United States between 1946 and 1970, average reported happiness showed no long-term trend and declined between 1960 and 1970.
  • I agree with Easterlin, and the relative-status utility function
  • Furthermore, evolution favors a relative utility function as opposed to the standard absolute utility function,
  • Economists from Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, and even Keynes focused on status,
  • if economist used a relative utility function many (most) seminal models would become ambiguous, and the whole field loses much of its foundation.
  • Wolfer... second set of findings concern cross-sectional data within a country. Easterlin did not dispute this, however. Given positional goods like mates and lakefront property, relative wealth should matter.
  • So, what about the original Easterlin note, that among developed countries, where people are more worried about obesity than malnutrition, as GDP/ capita rises we aren't getting happier? Well, Sacks, Stevenson, and Wolfers (2013) adress this point directly, and show this chart...
  • When an economist tells you a symmetric ovoid contains a highly significant trend via the power of statistics, don't believe them: real effects pass the ocular test of statistical significance... as from 2010 Easterlin and co-authors have data with similar blobs, but they draw downward-sloping lines over them...I think it's best to say, no relation, and to stop drawing lines on blobs.
  • the biggest problem with the Sacks, Stevenson and Wolfers analysis is that they estimate a short-term relationship between life satisfaction and GDP, rather than the long-term relationship.
  • We should aspire higher than envy, which paradoxically seems to elevate greed,
  • I otherwise admire, usually libertarian leaning, are quite averse to the Easterlin conclusion, thinking it will lead us to adopt a luddite policies because growth would not matter in such a world (see Ron Bailey here, or Tim Worstall there).
  • key is that while I admit that my relatively impoverished grandfather was probably as happy as I am, I'm also very glad I live now: growth is good in spite of my envious homunculus.
  • as productivity growth is the natural consequence of free minds and markets, flattening growth means not merely focusing on 'more important things' but rather squelching freedom, and liberty is more important than equality... how would one prevent Larry Ellison or LeBron James from being richer than everyone else? The only way would be to destroy new companies or merit-based systems, why the worst rise to the top in hierarchies