Graham, Carol (2004). Can happiness research contribute to development economics?.
The literature on the economics of happiness in the developed economies finds discrepancies between reported measures of well being and income measures. One is the so-called “Easterlin paradox”: average happiness levels do not increase as countries grow wealthier. This article explores how that paradox –and survey research on reported well being more generally – can provide insights into gaps between standard measures of economic development and individual assessments of welfare in developing countries. One such gap is that between economists’ assessments of the benefits of globalization for the poor and those made by the general public. The article posits that these gaps may indeed matter to development outcomes, based on evidence from the author’s research on reported well being in Latin America and Russia. It suggests the relevance of research on reported well being for the theory and practice of development economics.