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A Happy Choice: Wellbeing as the Goal of Government

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Frijters

    (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

  • Christian Krekel

    (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

  • Richard Layard

    (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR)

Abstract

In this article, we lay out the basic case for wellbeing as the goal of government. We briefly review the history of this idea, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and was the acknowledged ideal of the Enlightenment. We then discuss possible measures on which a wellbeing orientation could be based, emphasising the importance of acknowledging the political agency of citizens and thus their own evaluations of their life. We then turn to practicalities and consequences: how would one actually set up wellbeing-oriented decision-making and what difference should we expect from current practice? We end by discussing the current barriers to the adoption of wellbeing as the goal of government, both in terms of what we need to know more about and where the ideological barriers lay.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Frijters & Andrew E. Clark & Christian Krekel & Richard Layard, 2020. "A Happy Choice: Wellbeing as the Goal of Government," Post-Print halshs-02492628, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-02492628
    DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2019.39
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02492628
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    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration

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