Income reductions, personality and well-being: Which personality types are the most psychologically resilient to the experience of income reductions?
Authors: Christopher Boyce, Alex Wood, Eamonn Ferguson
Abstract: What happens to an individual’s well-being when their income reduces? Recent psychological evidence shows that income reductions have a much greater association with well-being changes than equivalent gains. Here we use the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey from 2005 to 2012, which contains Big Five personality measures in 2005 for more than 10,000 individuals, to examine whether the influence of income reductions and gains on life satisfaction differ by personality. Those high on conscientiousness and low on openness show stronger reactions to losses, whereas those low on conscientiousness and high on openness experience minimal reactions to losses. The commonly observed small but robust relationship between income and life satisfaction may be accounted for by a sub-group of people experiencing rare but strongly impactful losses. Our work has important implications for discussions surrounding degrowth and will be presented in the special session entitled “degrowth, well-being, social capital and income change”.
The Good Life or the Better Life? Values, Norms and the Sustainable Consumption Transition. Institutional Orientations as Prerequisites for Sustainable Societies
Authors: Joachim H. Spangenberg, Sylvia Lorek
Abstract: For a transition towards sustainability, both production and consumption have to change. In the current public and the political debate, and in economics as well, ‘green growth’ and the ‘green economy’ dominate the discourse on the production side, which fits neatly with the claim for ‘a better life’ on the consumption side. A ‘good life’, questioning not only consumption patterns but also the prevailing levels of consumption, is associated with the minority discourse on ‘degrowth’. A good life based on substantially sustainable consumption cannot neglect human needs, but needs to identify better satisfiers for them. Three challenges stand out: (i) enhancing the satisfaction efficiency of consumer goods, (ii) identifying true satisfiers, and (iii) changing preferences towards less but better consumption. Different approaches in economics offer elements for a consumption theory up to the challenges, but have not yet been synthesised. Some steps for doing so are suggested.
Degrowth, happiness and income change
Authors: Filka Sekulova
Abstract: The present article draws upon the relation between well-being and income changes in the context of the economic crisis of Spain in 2011, as compared to the economic situation in a South East European country (Bulgaria) in the same period. Findings may be relevant for some of the suppositions made in the framework of degrowth. The effect of an income increase on happiness fades out over time in the Bulgarian sample, implying that happiness may be unattainable with constant augmentation of earnings. The ambiguous relation between income reduction and subjective well-being found in the Spanish sample suggests that income and consumption decrease may not necessarily reduce (individual or societal) happiness. This will especially be the case if accompanied by simultaneous life-style changes that lower formal working hours and improve some of the social capital parameters of the particular community, such as sharing.