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National well-being policy and a weighted approach to human feelings

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  • O'Donnell, Gus
  • Oswald, Andrew J.

Abstract

Governments are becoming interested in the concept of human well-being and how truly to assess it. As an alternative to traditional economic measures, some nations have begun to collect information on citizens' happiness, life satisfaction, and other psychological scores. Yet how could such data actually be used? This paper is a cautious attempt to contribute to thinking on that question. It suggests a possible weighting method to calculate first-order changes in society's well-being, discusses some of the potential principles of democratic ‘well-being policy’, and (as an illustrative example) reports data on how sub-samples of citizens believe feelings might be weighted.

Suggested Citation

  • O'Donnell, Gus & Oswald, Andrew J., 2015. "National well-being policy and a weighted approach to human feelings," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 59-70.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:120:y:2015:i:c:p:59-70
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.09.021
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    1. Christopher Barrington-Leigh & Alice Escande, 2018. "Measuring Progress and Well-Being: A Comparative Review of Indicators," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 893-925, February.
    2. Lucía Macchia & Anke C. Plagnol, 2019. "Life Satisfaction and Confidence in National Institutions: Evidence from South America," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 721-736, July.
    3. Bruno S. Frey, 2020. "What are the opportunities for future happiness research?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 67(1), pages 5-12, March.
    4. H. Xavier Jara & Erik Schokkaert, 2017. "Putting measures of individual well-being to use for ex-ante policy evaluation," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 15(4), pages 421-440, December.
    5. Ocean, Neel, 2016. "The Determinants Of Well-Being Prioritisation Over The Life Cycle," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 301, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Haavard Maridal, J. & Palich, Les & Morgan, Grant & Gardner, Steven & McKinney, Joe & Bolbocean, Corneliu, 2018. "Wellbeing Indices: A Comprehensive Inventory of Standards and a Review of Current Comparative Measures," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 1-11.
    7. Christopher Barrington-Leigh & Jan T. Wollenberg, 2019. "Informing Policy Priorities using Inference from Life Satisfaction Responses in a Large Community Survey," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 14(4), pages 911-924, September.
    8. Carol Graham, 2005. "The Economics of Happiness," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(3), pages 41-55, July.

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    Keywords

    Life satisfaction; Anxiety; Happiness; National well-being; Mental health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

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