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Rain or shine: happiness and risk-taking
journal contributionposted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Cahit Guven, I H Hoxha
In this paper, we focus on the effects of weather, such as sunshine, as an exogenous shifter of happiness using happiness data at the individual level, and estimate sunshine as a predictor of happiness. Then we relate the predicted happiness to risk-taking. By doing so, we estimate a relationship, stronger than a simple correlation, between happiness and risky behavior. Weather changes, and sunshine in particular, have substantial influences on personal happiness. However, unexpected weather changes appear to be more important than expected changes for happiness. We include several risk measures such as subjective risk-taking and financial assets in our analysis. Happier people appear to be more risk-averse in general and more specifically in financial decisions, and choose accordingly safer investments. This might be explained by the fact that happy people take more time for making decisions and have more self-control. In addition, predicted happiness affects expectations about longevity and inflation. Happy people expect to live longer and accordingly seem more concerned about the future than the present, and expect less inflation.