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Satisfaction From Marriage Practices In Kyrgyzstan

1597 words - 7 pages

Mainstream economists have never paid any particular attention to the concept of happiness, as skepticism about such a measure of development as subjective well-being is widespread. That is why it is not at all surprising that the nature of happiness has not yet been defined in a uniform way even though research has significantly increased in the last decades. As Diener (2003) aptly underlined, happiness to different scholars can mean anything from pleasure, life satisfaction, positive emotions, a meaningful life, to a feeling of contentment. For example, for Ng (1978) happiness is welfare, for Oswald (1997) – pleasure or satisfaction. The author of the «Happiness paradox», Richard Easterlin, revealed his own uncertainty about the issue, confessing that he used the term happiness interchangeably with subjective well-being, satisfaction utility, well-being and welfare. Frey and Stutzer (2005) consider reported subjective well-being as a proxy measure for utility. Economists such as Frank and Layard use the category of subjective well-being as a synonym for happiness. For this reason, it is evident that nowadays, to economists, happiness is not a concept to define, but to measure empirically.
Other social scientists, on the contrary, have been working on the theme for decades. Sociologists were pioneers in discovering empirical indicators of the standard of living and researching quality of life. The approach from psychology, where experimental studies began as far back as in the 1950-s, is that the term reflects a complex interaction between the following three components – life satisfaction as a cognitive element, affect as affective component and subjective well-being, including both, affective and cognitive components. Ed Diener (2003) proposed a hierarchical model of subjective well-being containing the following four components – pleasant and unpleasant emotions, global life judgment and domain satisfaction (work, leisure, health, marriage etc.). In this last approach happiness is obviously a narrower concept than subjective well-being and differs from life satisfaction. Given the importance of sociological and psychological aspects in the idea of happiness that economics investigates, a study of happiness is bound to benefit from an interdisciplinary approach.
The presence of multiple interchangeable meanings is likely to create misunderstandings and obvious difficulties for the matching of academic goals with appropriate instruments. It is crucial, therefore, to start with a clear definition of happiness. To date, in the economic literature dealing with subjective well-being terms of “life satisfaction” and “happiness” are often used interchangeably. The pioneer of this approach was Ed Diener (1984), and at one point in time many economists and other interdisciplinary researchers had accepted this for the sake of simplicity (Frey and Stutzer (2000); Ratzlaff et al. (2000); Kahneman (2003); Watkins (2004); Kingdon and Knight (2006); Lu...

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