2015년 11월 12일 목요일

[책: D. Coyle's] The Economics of Enough (2011)


출처: Diane Coyle. The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as if the Future Matters. Princeton Univ. Press, 2011.
자료: 구글도서


※ 주료 차례 (Main Contents): 

Overview  (1)

Part I: CHALLENGES
  • 1. Happiness  (21)
  • 2. Nature  (55)
  • 3. Posterity  (85)
  • 4. Fairness  (114)
  • 5. Trust  (145)
Part II: OBSTACLES
  • 6. Measurement  (181)
  • 7. Values  (209)
  • 8. Institutions  (239)
Part III: MANIFESTO
  • 9. The Manifesto of Enough  (267)

Notes  (301)
References  (313)


※ 발췌 (excerpt): pp. 39~ 


THE ANTIGROWTH ALTERNATIVE

Criticizing the indicator being measured is one approach; an alternative is to reject the use of any growth indicator at all, preferring to focus on ^happiness^. The inspiration for this approach stems from an influential 1974 paper by economist Richard Easterlin presenting what has come to be known as the Easterlin Paradox.

  He noted that levels of happiness were higher in richer than in poor countries, and higher for rich than for poor people within a single country; but over a period of decades, GDP had risen much more than measured happiness. In fact beyond a certain threshold level of income, higher GDP didn't seem to increase average happiness at all. Other economists followed up Easterlin's paper and confirmed the finding. This body of work has come to create a sort of received wisdom about growth and happiness. These pieces of research find the same apparently conflicting evidence between cross-section samples of data (comparisons between countries or between people in one country at a point in time) and time-series samples (over time in one country). The conclusion typically drawn is that money does increase happiness but only up to a point. As Richard Layard put it in his well-known book ^Happiness: Lessons from a New Science^: "Once a country has over $15,000 per head, its level of happiness appears to be independent of its income per head."[n.26]

  There are two explanations given for this paradoxical result. One is that people usually adapt to changes in their circumstances to become pretty much just as happy as they were; this is true of certain positive events such as winning a lot of money and of some negative ones such as becoming badly disabled by an accident. A second and related explanation is that because people quickly get used to better circumstances, they need more and more income just to sustain their happiness─it's called the "hedonic treadmill."[n. 27]  Richard Layard writes: "I grew up without central heating. It was fine. Sometimes I had to huddle over a fire or put my feet into a bowl of hot water, but my mood was good. When I was forty, I got central heating. Now I would feel really miserable if I had to fight the cold as I once did. In fact, I have become addicted to central heating."[n.28]  ( ... ... )

  The Easterlin Paradox, along with the strong policy conclusions some researchers draw from it, has struck a chord. Robert Frank (in ^Luxury Fever^) argued that high taxes should be used to discourage consumer spending, which won't buy happiness. Barry Schwartz has written about ^The Paradox of Choice^, whereby the great variety of goods and services available to Western consumers only makes us unhappy  (despite the fact that consumers do buy a huge variety of products). The Kingdom of Bhutan has become an icon for its policy pursuit of Gross National Happiness, despite the country's miserably poor human development indicators.

  However, recently the evidence on growth and happiness has been persuasively reassessed. As described below, recent research strongly suggests that there is no paradox, as growth and happiness are in fact usually positively linked.

  To me it always seemed odd to expect happiness to rise fully in line with GDP in the first place─not least because the fall in GDP associated with a recession always causes great unhappiness. Of course, higher incomes should make us happier on average but why would anyone expect GDP and happiness to rise ^in proportion^ to each other? Higher incomes make us taller on average too, but nobody would expect height to continue rising at the same pace as GDP.[n.30]  This instinct was articulated rigorously by Helen Johns and Paul Ormerod when they pointed out that the happiness measures used in the studies are derived from surveys that ask respondents to rate their happiness (or life satisfaction) on a scale with three or five choices. The way the figures are constructed means they simply cannot increase as much as GDP figures, which are constructed completely differently and do not have upper limit. No firm conclusion can be drawn from empirical research that does not acknowledge this statistical issue.[n.31]

  Several recent papers redo the empirical testing with due account taken of the very different character of the two variables. These look at the links between happiness measures and the ^logarithm^ of GDP (the log measure increases at an ever slower rate than the absolute measure).[n.32]  These economists find that in both cross-section and time-series data there is good evidence from a number of different datasets that happiness rises with GDP, and does so at a constant rate. ( ... ... )

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