Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Economic degrowth compatible with wellbeing if work stability is maintained

12.03.2014

Policies aimed at effectively mitigating climate change through a reduction in economic growth and consumption of fossil fuels would have a monetary impact on the economy, but also an impact on the wellbeing and happiness of individuals.

Researchers at the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology at the UAB have taken advantage of the current economic crisis to analyse the impact this situation would have.

Scientists used data from a survey conducted in 2011 to measure the degree of happiness and satisfaction in a sample of 950 inhabitants from Barcelona, in relation to their current levels of income and to how they have evolved in the past five years. The questionnaire included data on their level of education, work status, health, consumption habits, and leisure activities, as well as other variables.

With regard to income levels, "when there is work stability, there is a point of inflection in the co-relation of income and happiness" affirms Dr Filka Sekulova, main author of the research: "up to 1,750 euros we can say that money favours happiness, but after this amount the co-relation we observed is negative".

... more about:
»Autonoma »activities »happiness »income »individuals

Dr Sekulova highlights that the fact that "the reduction in salaries in the two years before the survey, from 1,373 to 1,310 euros monthly in average, did not represent a reduction in the level of happiness. Even in more recent periods, reductions in salary periodically presented a positive relation with a subjective wellbeing." Researchers consider that the most plausible explanation of this positive relation, albeit the reduction in salary, is that there is also a reduction in working hours and, therefore, an increase in leisure time. Data show that the happiness of individuals is directly related to the hours they work when measured up to 16 hours a week. In contrast, those working more than 16 hours a week are less happy the more hours they work.

"If we apply these results to climate change mitigation policies, we see that reducing consumption and salaries as well as working hours, while maintaining workplaces, can have a positive effective on people's wellbeing" researchers affirm. One must bear in mind however that unemployment, unstable jobs and economic vulnerability caused by the crisis have a very important negative effect on the quality of life, and this can also be seen in the survey.

Although the consumption of goods such as cars and furniture can also positively affect participants' happiness, researchers believe that encouraging this type of consumption is a short-sighted strategy to reach that goal, given that the effects of consuming these types of goods disappear shortly after.

The results of the study demonstrate that climate change mitigation policies need not reduce the level of happiness of individuals in the long term. Their effect can even be positive if they are accompanied by measures to reduce working hours and consumption standards, while maintaining work stability.

According to the study, another factor to be included in environmental policies aimed at degrowth and positive effects on the happiness of individuals is the habit of sharing objects, cars, living spaces as well as volunteering, known as "social capital". This tendency can be seen in 68% of the participants in the survey, and is materialised in 50% who share living spaces with people who are not family or a significant otherand in 26% who share vehicles.

"Not applying environmental policies to mitigate climate change can have negative consequences when it comes to happiness", Dr Sekulova states. Researchers confirmed that being exposed to extreme climate experiences, such as a forest fires or flooding, phenomena which could occur more frequently in the most common scenarios of climate change, have considerable and lasting negative effects on the wellbeing and happiness of individuals.

Filka Sekulova | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uab.es/

Further reports about: Autonoma activities happiness income individuals

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Deadly Japan quake and tsunami spurred global warming, ozone loss
26.03.2015 | American Geophysical Union

nachricht When clocks are set forward, life satisfaction declines
26.03.2015 | Sozio-oekonomisches Panel (SOEP)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

Im Focus: 3-D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate impacts in real time

Method produced by UI researcher could improve reaction time to deadly, expensive quakes

When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.

Im Focus: Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. 

Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...

Im Focus: Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Two Most Destructive Termite Species Forming Superswarms in South Florida

27.03.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

ORNL-Led Team Demonstrates Desalination with Nanoporous Graphene Membrane

27.03.2015 | Materials Sciences

Coorong Fish Hedge Their Bets for Survival

27.03.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>