The probability of depression by age Males, LFS data set 2004-2006 -0.01 -0.005 0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 19381942194619501954195819621966197019741978198219861990 Year of birth Regression coefficient
-0.014 -0.012 -0.01 -0.008 -0.006 -0.004 -0.002 0 0.002 1942194619501954195819621966197019741978198219861990 Depression by age among females: LFS data 2004-2006Q2 Year of birth Regression coefficient
The Relationship Between the Probability of Antidepressant Use and Age (European nations)
Aggregating across: Lost much sleep over worry? Felt constantly under strain? Felt you could not overcome your difficulties? Been feeling unhappy and depressed? Been losing confidence in yourself? Been thinking of yourself as a worthless person? Been able to enjoy your normal day-to-day activities?
Mental well-being increases up to approximately 8-a-day.
In heart biomarker equations, once fruit and vegetable consumption is held constant, there is an income gradient only in heart rate and C- reactive protein.
Next, consider the Stiglitz Commissions Findings
Stiglitz Report 2009: Measures of.. objective and subjective well- being provide key information about peoples quality of life. Statistical offices [worldwide] should incorporate questions to capture peoples life evaluations, hedonic experiences … in their own survey. P.16. Executive Summary of Commission Report.
Emphasis on growth is misguided Beyond GDP Measuring what matters
Life is now more complex The time has come to adapt our system of measurement … to better reflect the structural changes which have characterized the evolution of modern economies.
Services dominate In effect, the growing share of services and the production of increasingly complex products make the measurement of output and economic performance more difficult than in the past.
In 1900, there were 1 million coal miners (5% of the workforce).
In the UK In 1900, there were 1 million coal miners (5% of the workforce). Today there are approximately 1,000.
We need to measure well-being per se A… unifying theme of the report, is that the time is ripe for our measurement system to shift emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring peoples well-being.
Inequality itself matters Recommendation 7: Quality-of-life indicators in all the dimensions covered should assess inequalities in a comprehensive way.
Official statistics should blend objective and subjective well- being data Recommendation 10: Measures of both objective and subjective well-being provide key information about peoples quality of life. Statistical offices should incorporate questions to capture peoples life evaluations, hedonic experiences and priorities in their own survey.
Sustainability must be a criterion Recommendation 11: Sustainability assessment requires a well-identified dashboard of indicators…the components of this dashboard should be … interpretable as variations of some underlying stocks. A monetary index of sustainability has its place in such a dashboard
#1 Happiness data offer us interesting potential as proxy-utility data. u = u(y, z,..)
#2 The next 20 years are likely to see economists work more and more with physiological and hard-science data.
#3 Biomarker data will (slowly) be used more and more.
#4 Empirically, there are strong relative effects on utility:
#4 Empirically, there are strong relative effects on utility: u = u(y, y*) eg. if y* is others incomes.
#5 A crucial role in social-science behaviour is played by the second derivative, v, of the function utility = v(relative status)+..
In humans (I shall argue) Concavity of v(.) leads to imitation and herd behaviour Convexity of v(.) leads to deviance.
#6 The Stiglitz Commissions ideas will eventually take hold.
In closing: my hunches Economists have not thought enough about the power of fruit and vegetables. One day, I think it is likely that economists will start to study apes and humans within the same paper. Economists will probably focus more and more on the human heart. Welfare maximands will change.
Where Will Research Go in the Coming Century? Andrew Oswald IZA and Warwick