Happiness, economics and public policy
Institute of Economic Affairs, 2007 - Business & Economics - 109 pages
With commentaries by Samuel Brittan and Melanie Powell. In "Happiness, Economics and Public Policy", Helen Johns and Paul Ormerod analyse the economic research that underlies politicians' growing preoccupation with measures of 'well-being'. In a lucid and compelling analysis, written for economists and non-economists alike, the authors find that happiness research cannot be used to justify government intervention in the way its proponents suggest. Those who wish governments to take into account measures of well-being when setting policy often point to the fact that increases in income have not led to increases in measured happiness, and thus governments should concentrate on redistribution and improving the quality of life, rather than on allowing people to benefit from economic growth. In fact, measured happiness does not appear to be related to public spending, violent crime, property crime, sexual equality, disability, life expectancy or unemployment either. The stark fact is that, as Helen Johns and Paul Ormerod demonstrate, the difficulties in measuring society's happiness are insurmountable, and policymakers should not claim that they can control and increase happiness through public policy decisions.
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Happiness research and economic theory
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affect happiness analysis argument Arthur Seldon average happiness behaviour behavioural economics cent concept correlation between happiness Daniel Kahneman David Henderson different from zero diminishing marginal utility Easterlin economic growth economic theory economists effect environmental example expectancy Figure GDP per head Gini coefficient government policy gross national happiness happier happiness data happiness economics Happiness Index happiness levels happiness literature happiness measures happiness research Helen Johns Hobart Paper income inequality increase in happiness indicator individuals ISBN ISEW Johns and Paul lack of correlation level of happiness macroeconomic marriage maximising Mean US happiness measure of welfare measured happiness national happiness ness Norman Barry Occasional Paper Oswald Paul Ormerod Philip Booth policy appraisal policymakers political problems Professor property crime rate proportionate change Public Policy public spending real GDP relationships reported happiness Research Monograph Richard Layard satisfaction social welfare subjective wellbeing tion variables violent crime rate wellbeing research