Doleriai (nuotr. SCANPIX)

Doleriai (nuotr. SCANPIX)

Naujas laimės ir pinigų santykio tyrimas paneigia seną dėsnį, kad pinigai gali žmones padaryti laimingus tik iki tam tikro lygio, rašo „The Atlantic“.

Pagal vadinamąji „Easterlino“ paradoksą, kai kai žmonės tampa turtingesni, jie persikrausto į turtingus rajonus ir ten nebesijaučia turtingais. Tada galbūt yra svarbiau sąlyginis pajamų kiekis, o ne absoliutus.

Tačiau Danielio W. Sackso, Betsey Stevenson bei Justino Wolferso tyrimas „Nauji stilizuoti faktai apie pajamas bei subjektyvią gerovę“ rodo, kad ankstesni teiginiai remiasi klaidingais duomenimis.

„The Atlantic“ pateikia šešis įdomiausius tyrimo pastebėjimus.

Turtingos šalys yra laimingesnės

Tyrėjai į grafiką įtraukė 122 šalių gyventojų apklausų apie jų pasitenkinimą savo gerove rezultatus bei šalies realaus BVP vienam gyventojui duomenis ir rado stiprią koreliaciją. Šalies gyventojų pasitenkinimo savo gerove lygis kyla kartu su gaunamomis pajamomis.

REKLAMA

“The New Stylized Facts about Income and Subjective Well-Being,“ by Daniel W. Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers pav. (nuotr. SCANPIX)

“The New Stylized Facts about Income and Subjective Well-Being,“ by Daniel W. Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers pav. (nuotr. SCANPIX)

Papildomas doleris nenupirks tiek pat laimės

Pirmame paveikslėlyje nematyti, kad papildomas tūkstantis dolerių prie algos suteiktų tokį patį pasitenkinimą. Santykis yra logaritminis. Pakėlus algą nuo tūkstančio iki dviejų tūkstančių dolerių, pasitenkinimas didėja dvigubai, kaip ir nuo 10 iki 20 tūkst. dolerių. Tačiau tai reiškia, kad gavus dar papildomai tokią pačią sumą, pasitenkinimo lygis būtų mažesnis.

Turtingos šalys turtėdamos tampa laimingesnėmis

“The New Stylized Facts about Income and Subjective Well-Being,“ by Daniel W. Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers pav. (nuotr. SCANPIX)

“The New Stylized Facts about Income and Subjective Well-Being,“ by Daniel W. Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers pav. (nuotr. SCANPIX)

Pirmasis grafikas atsako į klausimą: ar šalys turinčios daugiau pajamų yra laimingesnės? Atsakymas yra taip. Bet yra ir kitas klausimas: ar atskiros šalys tampa laimingesnės, kai jų pajamos padidėja. Pasak tyrimo, irgi taip. Šis grafikas rodo 25 didžiausias pasaulio šalis ir jų laimingumo augimo santykį su pajamų augimu.

„Laimės plokščiakalnio“ nėra

Arba jis yra žymiai aukščiau nei manėme prieš tai. Pastarojo grafiko linijos parodo tris svarbius dalykus. Visų pirma, jos kyla į viršų – daugiau pinigų, daugiau laimės. Antra, jos kyla į viršų, daugiau ar mažiau, paraleliai. Visose kultūrose papildoma suma pinigų suteikia daugiau laimės. Trečia, linijos kyla paraleliai ir jų trajektorija neišsilygina. Nėra „Easterlino plokščiakalnio“, nėra prisisotinimo taško, kuriame pinigai staiga praranda galimybę padidinti gerovę.

REKLAMA

Pasitenkinimas stabiliai auga su stabiliai augančiomis pajamomis

“The New Stylized Facts about Income and Subjective Well-Being,“ by Daniel W. Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers pav. (nuotr. SCANPIX)

“The New Stylized Facts about Income and Subjective Well-Being,“ by Daniel W. Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers pav. (nuotr. SCANPIX)

Šie grafikai rodo, kad aštuonių iš devynių valstybių pasitenkinimas augo kartu su laiku bei ekonominiu augimu. Tik vienoje šalyje – Belgijoje – nebuvo koreliacijos.

JAV išimtis

JAV ekonomika nuo aštunto dešimtmečio išaugo dvigubai. Tačiau žmonių pasitenkinimas savo gerove sumažėjo. Kodėl?

Autoriai pateikia dvi priežastis. Pirma, ekonomikos augimas koreliuoja su laimės augimu daugelyje šalių, tačiau tai nereiškia, kad BVP yra visa nulemiantis laimės veiksnys. Socialiniai pokyčiai taip pat atlieka svarbų vaidmenį. Be to, gerai žinoma, kad JAV yra ekonominės nelygybės lyderė, o dvigubai išaugusio BVP vaisiai nebuvo išauginti vienodai. Autorių teigimu, Europoje ekonominė nelygybė išaugo dvigubai mažiau nei JAV.

Pasak gerovės ir pajamų tyrimų krikštatėvio Richardo Easterlino, geriau būti turtingam nei vargšui, tačiau turtingos šalys netampa laimingesnės nuo to, kad ir toliau turtėja. Galų gale jos atsitrenkia į laimės lubas. Ši idėja yra labai svarbi, nes pasaulyje, kur yra svarbios tik sąlyginės pajamos, gali būti svarbu ne tiek daug rūpintis augimu, kiek maksimizuoti žemiausio sluoksnio šeimų pajamas. Pateiktas tyrimas ginčija šią sąvoką. Absoliučios pajamas yra absoliučiai svarbios.

Neturtingas, bet laimingas
2013-01-12 08:57:37
Laime ir pinigai tai nieko bendra, jug kek daug aplink mus turtingu ir labai turtingu, bet labai nelaimigu pilieciu ir atvirksciai, laime yra tik zmogaus galvoje.
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Patogiausias būdas sužinoti daugiau - sekti naujienas mūsų „Facebook“ paskyroje!
robin 2013-01-19 11:30:47
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Let’s talk a closer look at the analysis of Sacks, Stevenson, and Wolfers (SSW).

The precise version of the Easterlin hypothesis is “at a point in time both among and within nations, happiness varies directly with income, but over time, happiness does not increase when a country’s income increases” (Easterlin et al., 2010, PNAS).

To me, a test of the Easterlin hypothesis is fairly easy: if I find a significantly positive relationship between well-being and a country’s income (measured as GDP per capita) over time, then the Easterlin hypothesis is falsified.

In their latest analysis (http://www.sole-jole.org/12513.pdf), SSW analyze 7 data sets (Table 1). In 4 out of the 7 datasets they do not find a significant relationship between GDP per capita and subjective well-being with panel regressions (columns 2, 5, 6, 7; except the coefficient in column 6, row 3).
So we see no significant evidence in 4 of 7 data sets, that happiness increases when a country’s income increases. My interpretation from these results would be that the Easterlin hypothesis can be rejected in 3 datasets, but it cannot be rejected in 4 datasets. In any case, this evidence is not robust enough for me to say that “economic growth and growth in well-being are clearly related” (as SSW do in their newest article in “Emotion”).

Note that SSW argue that the Easterlin hypothesis should be tested in a slightly different way: if the coefficients from the within-country cross-section, the between-country cross-section, and the national time-series differ significantly, then the Easterlin hypothesis is falsified.
I cannot say that SSW’s version of the test is wrong. But I am not convinced that the more straightforward way of testing the Easterlin as described above is wrong, either.

When SSW use their version of testing the Easterlin hypothesis, they find that the between-country coefficient is not significantly different from the coefficient of the panel regressions in 6 of 7 data sets (the exception is column 3).
However, I would definitely not subscribe to how they interpret their results in the latest “Emotion” article: “we find that those countries which enjoyed faster economic growth, on average experienced greater growth in well-being. This general conclusion holds across all the data sets we have studied”. In my opinion, this is simply not true. The result for some data sets is that there seems to be no significant relation between GDP per capita and well-being.

SSW write in the “Emotion” article: “sensitive to the difference between a precise zero and a large but statistically insignificant number, we focus on quantitative comparisons, rather than statistical significance”. First, the quantitative comparisons in the 2011 working paper are all supported by significance tests. Second, if the economic significance (i.e., the magnitude of the coefficient) really matters more to SSW than the statistical significance, why are they not discussing the 4 negative coefficients in Table 1 at all?

SSW state the stylized fact in the “Emotion” article that “there is no satiation point beyond which the relationship between income and well-being diminishes”. Using U.S. data, Kahneman and Deaton show in a 2010 PNAS article, that emotional well-being satiates after a certain income level. SSW know the work of Kahneman and Deaton and even cite it in their 2011 working paper. Ignoring it in the Emotion article seems not to be good scientific practice to me.

SSW write in the “Emotion” article: “a regression of (standardized) well-being on income reveals that each doubling of income increases well-being by 0.34 standard deviations, identical to the cross-country gradient”. This assumes that the logarithm with base 2 is used. However, most statistics software uses the natural logarithm as default. This means that the results cannot be interpreted as a result of doubling income, but as a result of a 2.7-fold increase in income (since the base of the natural logarithm is e = 2.71…). This is a sizable difference, in my opinion. SSW do either not say which type of logarithm they are using, or they switch between types (see notes of Table 1 in the 2011 working paper). Anyway, I’m quite sure they use Stata as statistics software, which calculates the natural logarithm as default, and I would be very surprised if they would not use the natural logarithm throughout their analyses.

Note also that some of the clustered standard errors in the work of SSW could be biased downward (i.e., too small, leading to a probably false inference about the existence of a relationship). This is because the theory behind the calculation of clustered standard errors works only if the number of countries (clusters) is large (approx. bigger than 50). See for example Jeffrey Wooldridge’s 2003 article in the American Economic Review. In Table 1 of SSW’s latest working paper the number of countries is below 50 in columns 3, 4, 6, and 7 of Table 1 in the 2011 working paper. Especially the significant result in column 3 should be cross-checked with methods that try to avoid the downward bias.

SSW also try to reconcile their results with the latest defense of Easterlin et al. (PNAS, 2010). The last row of Table 3 finds the “strongest results”. But why is the limit 12 years and not 11 or 13? Such arbitrary choices sound suspicious, and I would like to see if this result is robust if other limits are chosen.

From what SSW write in their latest “Emotion” article, one could think that Easterlin has not recognized that in the cross-section or in the between-country analysis higher income leads to higher well-being. This is simply not true. From his very first article in 1974, Easterlin has always said that higher income leads to higher well-being in the cross-section, but over time he sees no evidence for a relationship between happiness and national income. Thus, writing a sentence like “In short, cross-national comparisons show no Easterlin Paradox.” (p. 1184 in the ”Emotion” article) disregards that the paradox only exists if the cross-section result is put in contrast with the time-series result. Easterlin has clearly pointed to this issue in his 2010 PNAS article, and I wonder why SSW are imprecise in this regard.

Note also that the latest two working papers of SSW have not yet been cross-checked by fellow scientists. Moreover, the latest version of the working paper I found is tagged as “preliminary and incomplete”. The analysis in SSW’s latest article in “Emotion” is partly based on their 2010 and 2011 working papers, which have not yet been published. Before somebody I can trust to be really competent in the field has not checked the work, I wouldn’t buy it as a “new and stylized fact”. This is not to say that SSW’s results are wrong, but saying that own unpublished work is a “fact” seems a bit bold in the world of science.

The “panel of panels” (Table 2) seems an innovative idea to me, and the results suggest the interpretation that Easterlin hypothesis is not true on a global level. I would be curious to see what experts in the field think of the “panel of panels” approach. In any case, that might prove that on a global level, economic growth is positively related with higher well-being. Personally, I am more interested in what is true for my own country than in the general, global result. For the U.S., Stevenson and Wolfers have stated earlier that the U.S. seems to be an exception where the hypothesis cannot be rejected (2008 Brookings paper). SSW are more interested in the global result, and see the U.S. exception as “more of an interesting outlier than a key example”. I guess the reader has to make a personal decision if he/she thinks the U.S. exception is important or not.

My bottom-line is: SSW, and especially Stevenson and Wolfers have proven in other previous work that they are talented and careful scientists. And I would not say that they are wrong in their income-happiness analysis. But, dear journalists, before you buy the “new facts” as facts, it could be worthwhile to be a little more patient until somebody has thoroughly scrutinized SSW’s recent work (especially the 2010 and 2011 working papers). Once the work went through a referee process and is published in a journal, you can just be a little more sure that economic growth really buys happiness.

But maybe it’s not so important for journalists to wait, because if somebody finds out that SSW’s work was indeed preliminary and incomplete, then it would be worth another headline. Just my two cents worth.
   ATSAKYTI
Neturtingas, bet laimingas 2013-01-12 08:57:37
Pranešti apie netinkamą komentarą
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Laime ir pinigai tai nieko bendra, jug kek daug aplink mus turtingu ir labai turtingu, bet labai nelaimigu pilieciu ir atvirksciai, laime yra tik zmogaus galvoje.    ATSAKYTI

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