Happiness Quantified: A Satisfaction Calculus Approach

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OUP Oxford, 2008 - Business & Economics - 370 pages
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How do we measure happiness? Focusing on subjective measures as a proxy for welfare and well-being, this book finds ways to do that. Subjective measures have been used by psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, and, more recently, economists to answer a variety of scientifically and politically relevant questions. Van Praag, a pioneer in this field since 1971, and Ferrer-i-Carbonell present in this book a generally applicable methodology for the analysis of subjective satisfaction. Drawing on a range of surveys on people's satisfaction with their jobs, income, housing, marriages, and government policy, among other areas of life, this book shows how satisfaction with life "as a whole" is an aggregate of these domain satisfactions. Using German, British, Dutch, and Russian data, the authors cover a wide range of topics. This groundbreaking book presents a new and fruitful methodology that constitutes a welcome addition to the social sciences. The paperback edition has been revised to bring the literature review up-to-date and the chapter on poverty has been revised and extended to take account of new research.

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About the author (2008)


B. M. S. van Praag studied econometrics at the University of Amsterdam where he defended his dissertation on "Individual Welfare and the Theory of Consumer Behaviour" cum laude in 1968. Between 1969 and 1992 he held consecutive positions as Professor at the Free University of Brussels, Associate Professor at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Professor of Economics at the University of Leiden, and Professor at Erasmus University. In 1992 he was appointed Professor in Applied Economic Research at the University of Amsterdam and Managing Director of the Foundation for Economic Research. In 2000 he became University Professor at the University of Amsterdam. He was the founding president of the European Society for Population Economics, and has been co-editor of the Journal of Population Economics, a member of the Dutch Social Economic Council, and a member of the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell graduated in Economics at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in 1994. In 1997 she received a Fulbright scholarship to do graduate studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (Troy, NY, USA), where she obtained an M.S. in Economics and did research and teaching. In 2003 she obtained a PhD from the Faculty of Economics and Econometrics at the University of Amsterdam and the Tinbergen Institute, and then another PhD from RPI. She works for the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies at the University of Amsterdam.