A Framework of Happiness Survey and Evaluation of Gross National Happiness
Happiness surveys based on self-report can generate unreliable data due to respondentsâ€™ imperfect retrospection, vulnerability to context, and arbitrariness in measuring happiness. To overcome these problems, this article proposes to incorporate a method of measuring happiness, which is developed by Ng (1996) based on Edgeworthâ€™s notion of â€œJust Perceivable Incrementâ€ of happiness, with the Day Reconstruction Method developed by Kahneman et al (2004a) to form a new happiness survey procedure. Distinguished from many surveys that simply ask respondents to rate their subjective wellbeing on a given scale, this happiness measuring method provide detailed instructions to help respondents determine and use their personal happiness units, which are interpersonally comparable, in measuring happiness. While the Day Reconstruction Method helps avoid the effects of imperfect retrospection and external disturbances, the proposed method of measuring happiness can help reduce the arbitrariness in self-measurement and derive accurate, coherent and interpersonally comparable happiness metrics. Therefore, data collected from such a survey can be used as a more reliable informational foundation for the evaluation of gross national happiness.
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