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Can “happiness data” help evaluate economic policies?

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  • Robert MacCulloch

    () (University of Auckland)

Abstract

Imagine a government confronted with a controversial policy question, like whether it should cut the level of unemployment benefits. Will social welfare rise as a result? Will some groups be winners and other groups be losers? Will the welfare gap between the employed and unemployed increase? “Happiness data” offer a new way to make these kinds of evaluations. These data allow us to track the well-being of the whole population, and also sub-groups like the employed and unemployed people, and correlate the results with relevant policy changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert MacCulloch, 2016. "Can “happiness data” help evaluate economic policies?," Working Papers 16_02, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:16_02
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Simon Luechinger, 2009. "Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 482-515, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wellbeing; happiness data; unemployment benefit policy;

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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