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What good is happiness?

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Author Info

  • FLEURBAEY, Marc
  • SCHOKKAERT, Erik
  • DECANCQ, Koen

Abstract

In this paper we examine whether, and how, welfare economics should incorporate the insights from happiness and satisfaction studies. Our main point is that measuring well-being by reported satisfaction levels can come in conáict with individuals judgments about their own lives and that these individual judgments should be respected. We propose an alternative measure of welfare in terms of equivalent incomes that does respect individual preferences. Satisfaction surveys are useful, however, to derive information about preferences. We illustrate our approach with panel data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) for the period 1995-2003 and we compare the results for equivalent incomes with the results for subjective satisfaction.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2009017.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2009017

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Related research

Keywords: happiness; satisfaction; preferences; welfare economics; psychology;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. CALO-BLANCO, Aitor, 2012. "The compensation problem with fresh starts," CORE Discussion Papers 2012036, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Konow, James, 2009. "Adam Smith and Moral Knowledge," MPRA Paper 18557, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00561867 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Miniaci, Raffaele & Han, Wei & Cavapozzi, Danilo, 2013. "Alternative weighting structures for multidimensional poverty assessment," Research Report 13018-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  5. Van Landeghem, Bert, 2012. "A test for the convexity of human well-being over the life cycle: Longitudinal evidence from a 20-year panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 571-582.
  6. Landeghem Bert van, 2011. "A Test for the Convexity of Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," ROA Research Memorandum 008, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  7. Koen Decancq & Luc Van Ootegem & Elsy Verhofstadt, 2011. "What if we voted on the weights of a multidimensional well-being index? An illustration with Flemish data," Working Papers 1110, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  8. John A Weymark, 2013. "Conundrums for Nonconsequentialists," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00010, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  9. Marc Fleurbaey & Erik Schokkaert, 2012. "Behavioral Fair Social Choice," Working Papers 2012-012, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  10. Landeghem Bert van, 2011. "A Test for the Convexity of Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," Research Memorandum 043, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  11. Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Nichole Szembrot, 2012. "Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference," NBER Working Papers 18374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Marc Fleurbaey & Erik Schokkaert, 2013. "Behavioral Welfare Economics and Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 180-205, August.
  13. Koczan, Zs, 2013. "Does integration increase life satisfaction," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1314, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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