|Other Abstract||China has undergone unprecedented economic growth over the past few decades. As to whether such economic growth has led to an increase of happiness among Chinese people, the existing findings are inconsistent. The current thesis made use of data from diverse sources to investigate this issue from three different perspectives.
In study 1, data from 64 public survey projects were combined to examine the change in the happiness level of Chinese people from 1990 to 2018. The results showed that while the happiness level of Chinese people declined from 1990 to 2000, it increased from 2000 to 2018, along with an apparent linear rising tendency from 1990 to 2018. Economic growth exerted a positive impact on the change of Chinese happiness, even after controlling for other possible socio-ecological factors such as Gini coefficient. In study 2 (N = 26,209), data from a large-scale cross-sectional investigation was used to examine whether people from rich areas or with high social economic status enjoyed higher happiness. Results showed that even after controlling for potential individual and province level confounding factors, wealth at both individual and province level was positively associated with happiness. In study 3, based on 7 waves of data from Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) (2003, 2005, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017), a multilevel age-period-cohort (APC) model was used to examine the unique effects arising from age, period and cohort. Results showed that after controlling age effect, Chinese happiness has been on the rise from 2003 to 2017 and younger cohort manifested higher level of happiness than older cohorts; moreover, economic wealth was positively associated with happiness.
Taken together, the three studies provided converging evidence that, overall, Chinese happiness has been rising since 1990 and economic growth is beneficial for Chinese happiness. These findings extend the understanding of psychological changes of Chinese people over the past decades as well as the relationship between economic growth and happiness, suggesting that the Easterlin paradox is not applicable in China. These findings also suggest that, for China, economic growth should always be a primary goal because it can promote Chinese happiness.|