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 Risk Perception: Social Exchange Can Amplify Subjective Fears
21.04.2015 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Mental Disorders and Physical Diseases Co-occur in Teenagers
08.04.2015 | Universität Basel

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: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

Im Focus: NOAA, Tulane identify second possible specimen of 'pocket shark' ever found

Pocket sharks are among the world's rarest finds

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting...

Im Focus: Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data.

Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing: making a change often requires starting...

Im Focus: Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding is published in Physical Review Letters on April 24th. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope located in the Netherlands.

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was...

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrons Move Like Light in Three-Dimensional Solid

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Connecting Three Atomic Layers Puts Semiconducting Science on Its Edge

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Understanding the Body’s Response to Worms and Allergies

24.04.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>