IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Happiness Studies: Ways to Improve Comparability and Some Public Policy Implications

  • YEW-KWANG NG

Recent happiness studies by psychologists, sociologists and economists have produced many interesting results. These have important implications, including the need to focus less on purely objective (including economic) variables and more on subjective well-being. In particular, the focus on GDP should be supplemented (if not replaced) by more acceptable national success indicators such as the environmentally responsible happy nation index. Welfare economics and cost-benefit analysis that are currently based on economic factors (which are in turn based on preferences) should be revised to be based on happiness or welfare. Public spending on areas important for welfare should be preferred over private consumption that is largely no longer important for long-term welfare at the social level. Public policy should put more emphasis (than suggested by existing economic analysis) on factors more important for happiness than economic production and consumption, including employment, environmental quality, equality, health and safety. Above all, scientific advance in general and in brain stimulation and genetic engineering in particular may offer the real breakthroughs against the biological or psychological limitations on happiness. Some simple ways to improve the accuracy and comparability (including interpersonal) of happiness measurement are suggested: pinning down the level of neutrality, recognising the possible nonlinear scale used in self-reports, and using the just perceivable increment of pleasure as the interpersonally comparable unit. Copyright © 2008 The Economic Society of Australia.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/servlet/useragent?func=synergy&synergyAction=showTOC&journalCode=ecor&volume=84&issue=265&year=2008&part=null
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by The Economic Society of Australia in its journal Economic Record.

Volume (Year): 84 (2008)
Issue (Month): 265 (06)
Pages: 253-266

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:84:y:2008:i:265:p:253-266
Contact details of provider: Postal: Central Council Administration, L.P.O. Box 2161, Hawthorn VIC 3122
Phone: 61 3 9497 4140
Fax: 61 3 9497 4140
Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0013-0249
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/subs.asp?ref=0013-0249

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:84:y:2008:i:265:p:253-266. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.