IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Happiness Research and Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • Matthew Adler
  • Eric A. Posner
Registered author(s):

    A growing body of research on happiness or subjective well-being (SWB) shows, among other things, that people adapt to many injuries more rapidly than is commonly thought, fail to predict the degree of adaptation and hence overestimate the impact of those injuries on their SWB, and, similarly, enjoy small or moderate rather than significant changes in SWB in response to significant changes in income. Some researchers believe that these findings pose a challenge to cost-benefit analysis and argue that project evaluation decision procedures based on economic premises should be replaced with procedures that directly maximize SWB. This view turns out to be wrong or, at best, premature. Cost-benefit analysis remains a viable decision procedure. However, some of the findings in the happiness literature can be used to generate valuations for cost-benefit analysis where current approaches have proved inadequate. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

    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://dx.doi.org/10.1086/590188
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    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 University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
    Issue (Month): S2 (06)
    Pages: S253-S292

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:37:y:2008:i:s2:p:s253-s292
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
    2. Peter A. Ubel & George Loewenstein, 2008. "Pain and Suffering Awards: They Shouldn't Be (Just) about Pain and Suffering," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages S195-S216, 06.
    3. Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Calculating Tragedy: Assessing the Costs of Terrorism," CESifo Working Paper Series 1341, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245796, December.
    5. Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Apparent Quality-of-Life in Nations: How Long and Happy People Live," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 61-86, 03.
    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. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2006. "Money and Mental Wellbeing : A Longitudinal Study of Medium-Sized Lottery Wins," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 754, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    8. Welsch, Heinz, 2006. "Environment and happiness: Valuation of air pollution using life satisfaction data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 801-813, July.
    9. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 2000. "Should Legal Rules Favor the Poor? Clarifying the Role of Legal Rules and the Income Tax in Redistributing Income," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 821-35, June.
    10. repec:reg:rpubli:260 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
    12. Welsch, Heinz, 2002. "Preferences over Prosperity and Pollution: Environmental Valuation Based on Happiness Surveys," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 473-94.
    13. Cass R. Sunstein, 2008. "Illusory Losses," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages S157-S194, 06.
    14. Ruut Veenhoven, 1996. "Happy life-expectancy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 1-58, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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:ucp:jlstud:v:37:y:2008:i:s2:p:s253-s292. 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: (Journals Division)

    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.