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The asymmetric experience of positive and negative economic growth: global evidence using subjective well-being data

De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel and Ward, George W. and de Keulenaer, Femke and van Landeghem, Bert and Kavetsos, Georgios and Norton, Michael I. (2014) The asymmetric experience of positive and negative economic growth: global evidence using subjective well-being data. CEP Discussion Papers (CEPDP1304). Centre for Economic Performance, LSE, London, UK.

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Are individuals more sensitive to losses than gains in macroeconomic growth? Using subjective well-being measures across three large data sets, we observe an asymmetry in the way positive and negative economic growth are experienced, with losses having more than twice as much impact on individual happiness as compared to equivalent gains. We use Gallup World Poll data drawn from 151 countries, BRFSS data taken from a representative sample of 2.5 million US respondents, and Eurobarometer data that cover multiple business cycles over four decades. This research provides a new perspective on the welfare cost of business cycles with implications for growth policy and our understanding of the long-run relationship between GDP and subjective well-being.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D0 - General > D00 - General
D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D69 - Other
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I39 - Other
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Series: Working Papers > CEP Discussion Papers
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2014 14:35
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2015 10:47
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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