Research Paper MPRA Papers 10269
Deconstructing the hedonic treadmill
There is consent among psychologists and some economists that satisfaction from some events, like income and marriage, is adaptive. We propose a subtle but vital difference: happiness may itself be adaptive. First we present a model to explain the emergence of adaptive stimuli. We test our hypotheses running dynamic happiness regressions based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, the British Household Panel Survey and the Swiss Household Panel. Surprisingly, the autoregressive component is positive and significant in most econometric models considered. We propose that the hedonic treadmill may be mixed with what we call the 'scale treadmill'.