Professor EJ Mishan was a world expert on the idea of externalities. In this paper, we provide evidence for the intuitive idea of "emotional externalities". These might be viewed as psychological spillovers from the well-being of one person upon the well-being of another. A new form of laboratory experiment is implemented. "Happiness" answers are elicited in the first few seconds of the experiment. Tragic life events - like family illness and bereavement - are then studied. The paper documents evidence consistent with a powerful caring-about-others effect. The paper's results also suggest an approximate equivalence between life-satisfaction data and happiness data.
- life satisfaction
- Subjective well-being