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Perspectives from the Happiness Literature and the Role of New Instruments for Policy Analysis

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  • Bernard M. S. van Praag

Abstract

After having been ignored for a long time by economists, happiness is becoming an object of serious research in 21st century economics. In Section 2 we sketch the present status of happiness economics. In Section 3 we consider the practical applicability of happiness economics, retaining the assumption of ordinal individual utilities. In Section 4 we introduce a cardinal utility concept, which seems to us the natural consequence of the happiness economics methodology. In Section 5 we sketch how this approach can lead to a normative approach to policy problems that is admissible from a positivist point of view. Section 6 concludes. (JEL codes: B21, B41, D63, I31, I38) Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by CESifo in its journal CESifo Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 53 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 42-68

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:53:y:2007:i:1:p:42-68

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References

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  1. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
  2. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  3. Van Praag, Bernard, 1971. "The welfare function of income in Belgium: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 337-369.
  4. Stefan Boes & Markus Lipp & Rainer Winkelmann, 2005. "Money Illusion Under Test," SOI - Working Papers 0514, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  5. Praag, B.M.S. van & Herwaarden, F.G. van & Kapteyn, A.J., 1979. "The definition and measurement of social reference spaces," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-361904, Tilburg University.
  6. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bernard M.S. van Praag & B.E. Baarsma, 2004. "Using Happiness Surveys to value Intangibles; the Case of Airport Noise," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  9. Goedhart, T. & Halberstadt, V. & Praag, B.M.S. van & Kapteyn, A.J., 1977. "The poverty line: Concept and measurement," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-361898, Tilburg University.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  11. Van Praag, B.M.S., 1989. "The Relativity of the Welfare Concept," Research Paper 69, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
  12. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," IEW - Working Papers 015, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. Bernard M.S. van Praag & Paul Frijters, 1999. "The measurement of welfare and well-being; the Leyden approach," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 071a, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  14. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  15. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  17. Van Praag, Bernard M.S. & Warnaar, Marcel F., 1993. "The cost of children and the use of demographic variables in consumer demand," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 241-273 Elsevier.
  18. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur Stone, 2004. "Toward National Well-Being Accounts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 429-434, May.
  19. Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, . "Calculating Tragedy: Assessing the Costs of Terrorism," IEW - Working Papers 205, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  20. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Bernard M. S. van Praag, 2001. "The Subjective Costs of Health Losses Due to Chronic Diseases: An Alternative Model for Monetary Appraisal," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 262, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  21. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
  22. Praag, B.M.S. van & Kapteyn, A.J., 1976. "A new approach to the construction of family equivalence scales," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-361896, Tilburg University.
  23. Bernard M. S. van Praag & Nico L. van der Sar, 1988. "Household Cost Functions and Equivalence Scales," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(2), pages 193-210.
  24. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  25. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
  26. Kapteyn, Arie & Van Herwaarden, Floor G., 1980. "Interdependent welfare functions and optimal income distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 375-397, December.
  27. Kapteyn, A.J., 1977. "A theory of preference formation," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-364727, Tilburg University.
  28. Claudia Senik, 2005. "Income distribution and well-being: what can we learn from subjective data?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 43-63, 02.
  29. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Becchetti, Leonardo & Massari, Riccardo & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2013. "The Drivers of Happiness Inequality: Suggestions for Promoting Social Cohesion," IZA Discussion Papers 7153, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Becchetti, Leonardo & Giachin Ricca, Elena & Pelloni , Alessandra, 2010. "Children, happiness and taxation," AICCON Working Papers 64-2009, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
  3. Bonsang, Eric & Klein, Tobias J., 2012. "Retirement and subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 311-329.
  4. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00707290 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Claudia Senik, 2012. "The Great Happiness Moderation," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 468, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  6. Leonardo Becchetti & Elena Giachin Ricca & Alessandra Pelloni, 2013. "The Paradox of Children and Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(3), pages 725-751, May.
  7. Van Ootegem, Luc & Spillemaeckers, Sophie, 2010. "With a focus on well-being and capabilities," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 384-390, June.
  8. Anna Maffioletti & Agata Maida & Francesco Scacciati, 2013. "Survey Design and Response Analysis: a Study on Happiness, Life Satisfaction and Well-being in Piedmont, a Region of Italy," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 131, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.

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