The diminishing utility of economic growth: From maximizing security toward maximizing subjective well‐being

Critical Review 10 (4):509-531 (1996)
Abstract
Abstract Twenty years ago, Tibor Scitovsky questioned the assumption, embedded in neoclassical economics, that human happiness will be augmented if the level of consumption either rises or becomes more uniform over time. Evidence from the 1990?1993 World Values Survey suggests that his doubts were well?founded: although economic gains apparently make a major contribution to subjective well?being as one moves from societies at the subsistence level to those with moderate levels of economic development, further economic growth seems to have little or no impact on subjective well?being. This transition seems to reflect a basic cultural change that results in the diminishing marginal utility of economic growth.
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