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Happiness Is Absolute, Universal, Ultimate, Unidimensional, Cardinally Measurable and Interpersonally Comparable: A Basis for the Environmentally Responsible Happy Nation Index

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  • Yew-Kwang Ng

Abstract

Though the various improvements and different measures of many aspects related to well being proposed by the Sarkozy Report will be very useful, an overall national success indicator to supplement/replace the traditional focus on GDP is needed. As an ultimate indicator, it has to be happiness-based. This paper argues that happiness is absolute, universal, ultimate and unidimensional and is also cardinally measurable and interpersonally comparable, though existing indices are largely non-comparable. The happy nation index takes both the average net happiness and average lifespan into account. Since there is the future and there are other nations, a more appropriate national success indicator from a long-term and global perspective is to also take negative account of the external benefits/costs (perhaps starting with greenhouse gases) conferred/imposed on the future and on other nations. An environmentally responsible happy nation index may then be constructed.

Suggested Citation

  • Yew-Kwang Ng, 2011. "Happiness Is Absolute, Universal, Ultimate, Unidimensional, Cardinally Measurable and Interpersonally Comparable: A Basis for the Environmentally Responsible Happy Nation Index," Monash Economics Working Papers 16-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2011-16
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    File URL: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/research/papers/2011/1611happinessabsoluteng.pdf
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    1. Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, 2023. "Unhappy Metros: Panel Evidence," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 753-763, April.

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    Keywords

    Environmentally responsible happy nation index; happiness; interpersonal comparison; measurability; national success indicators.;
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