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Happiness, Growth, and Public Policy

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  • Easterlin, Richard A.

    (University of Southern California)

Abstract

If society's goal is to increase people's feelings of well-being, economic growth in itself will not do the job. Full employment and a generous and comprehensive social safety net do increase happiness. Such policies are arguably affordable not only in higher income nations but also in countries that account for most of the population of the less-developed world. These conclusions are suggested by an analysis of a wide range of evidence on happiness in countries throughout the world.

Suggested Citation

  • Easterlin, Richard A., 2013. "Happiness, Growth, and Public Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 7234, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7234
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    File URL: https://docs.iza.org/dp7234.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
    2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
    3. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gall is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    happiness; life satisfaction; subjective well-being; economic growth; safety net policies; developed countries; transition countries; less developed countries; China;
    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
    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy
    • F20 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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