IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/fosoec/v36y2007i1p29-42.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Comparing Interpersonal Comparisons in Utility Theory and Happiness Research

Author

Listed:
  • Stefan Mann

Abstract

Social scientists are reluctant to make explicit interpersonal comparisons of well-being. However, implicit comparisons are made on a surprisingly regular basis. These comparisons are based on the wealth and the Kaldor--Hicks concept in utility theory and on self-reported well-being in happiness research. Taking a utilitarian stance, this paper tests the ethical foundations of both principles. While self-reported well-being serves as an acceptable proxy for utilitarian decision-making, the Kaldor--Hicks concept does not appear so. Implications for evaluating policies are outlined.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Mann, 2007. "Comparing Interpersonal Comparisons in Utility Theory and Happiness Research," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 29-42, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:36:y:2007:i:1:p:29-42
    DOI: 10.1007/s12143-007-0003-1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12143-007-0003-1
    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 below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tim Kasser & Kennon Sheldon, 2002. "What Makes for a Merry Christmas?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 313-329, December.
    2. Edi Karni, 2003. "Impartiality and interpersonal comparisons of variations in well-being," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 21(1), pages 95-111, August.
    3. Miriam Tatzel, 2003. "The Art of Buying: Coming to Terms with Money and Materialism," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 405-435, December.
    4. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Happiness Research: State and Prospects," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 207-228.
    5. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    6. Dale W. Jorgenson & Daniel T. Slesnick, 1984. "Aggregate Consumer Behaviour and the Measurement of Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 369-392.
    7. Brown, Drusilla K & Stern, Robert M, 2001. "Measurement and Modeling of the Economic Effects of Trade and Investment Barriers in Services," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 262-286, May.
    8. Nick Hanley & Clive Spash & Lorna Walker, 1995. "Problems in valuing the benefits of biodiversity protection," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(3), pages 249-272, April.
    9. Ed Diener & Robert Biswas-Diener, 2002. "Will Money Increase Subjective Well-Being?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 119-169, February.
    10. Muellbauer, John, 1974. "Household composition, Engel curves and welfare comparisons between households : A duality approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 103-122, August.
    11. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Stress that Doesn't Pay: The Commuting Paradox," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 339-366, June.
    12. J. Varelius, 2004. "Objective Explanations of Individual Well-being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 73-91, March.
    13. Hasman, Andreas & sterdal, Lars Peter, 2004. "Equal Value Of Life And The Pareto Principle," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 19-33, April.
    14. Paolo Liberati, 2001. "The Distributional Effects of Indirect Tax Changes in Italy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(1), pages 27-51, January.
    15. Michael Hagerty & Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Wealth and Happiness Revisited – Growing National Income Does Go with Greater Happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
    16. Krutilla, John V., 1981. "Reflections of an applied welfare economist : Presidential Address Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists September 6, 1980, Denver, Colorado," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 1-10, March.
    17. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    18. Thierry Baudassé & Patrick Villieu, 2001. "Introduction," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 111(3), pages 333-346.
    19. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1999. "The Conflict between Notions of Fairness and the Pareto Principle," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 63-77, Fall.
    20. Joar Vittersø, 2004. "Subjective Well-Being versus Self-Actualization: Using the Flow-Simplex to Promote a Conceptual Clarification of Subjective Quality of Life," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 299-331, February.
    21. Mario F. Teisl & Nancy E. Bockstael & Alan Levy, 2001. "Measuring the Welfare Effects of Nutrition Information," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(1), pages 133-149.
    22. Franklin M. Fisher, 1987. "Household Equivalence Scales and Interpersonal Comparisons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 519-524.
    23. Norman, Victor D., 1990. "Assessing trade and welfare effects of trade liberalization : A comparison of alternative approaches to CGE modelling with imperfect competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 725-745, June.
    24. Franklin M. Fisher & Jerome Rothenberg, 1961. "How Income Ought to be Distributed: Paradox Lost," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 162-162.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stefan, Mann, 2012. "Does brain research provide a case for the transfer of public monies to the arts?," MPRA Paper 39410, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Mann, Stefan, 2015. "An activity choice approach towards pricing of 1:1 personal services – on the omnipresence of interpersonal utility comparisons," MPRA Paper 62516, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:pra:mprapa:39404 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:36:y:2007:i:1:p:29-42. 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: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/RFSE20 .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.