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 The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>