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Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham's Happiness for All?

David G. Blanchflower, Andrew Oswald

NBER Working Paper No. 24087
Issued in November 2017
NBER Program(s):Health Economics Program, Labor Studies Program

In Happiness for All?, Carol Graham raises disquieting ideas about today’s United States. The challenge she puts forward is an important one. Here we review the intellectual case and offer additional evidence. We conclude broadly on the author’s side. Strikingly, Americans appear to be in greater pain than citizens of other countries, and most sub-groups of citizens have downwardly trended happiness levels. There is, however, one bright side to an otherwise dark story. The happiness of black Americans has risen strongly since the 1970s. It is now almost equal to that of white Americans.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24087

Published: David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2019. "Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham’s for All?," Journal of Economic Literature, vol 57(2), pages 385-402. citation courtesy of

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