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What Good is Happiness?

Listed author(s):
  • Marc Fleurbaey, Erik Schokkaert and Koen Decancq

In this paper we examine whether, and how, welfare economics should incorporate some insights from happiness and satisfaction studies. Our main point, based on the principle of respecting the individuals’ judgments about their own lives, is that one should not focus on reported satisfaction levels but on the ordinal preferences reported by individuals over the various dimensions of life. We illustrate with data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) how to retrieve this information from happiness surveys. Creation-Date: 2009-04

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File URL: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/ophiwp/OPHIWP020.pdf
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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series OPHI Working Papers with number ophiwp020.

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Handle: RePEc:qeh:ophiwp:ophiwp020
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  1. Ed Diener, 1994. "Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 103-157, February.
  2. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
  3. 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.
  4. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2002. "Self-rated economic welfare in Russia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1453-1473, September.
  5. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Money metric utility: A harmless normalization?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 120-129, October.
  6. Marc Fleurbaey, 2007. "Social choice and the indexing dilemma," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 29(4), pages 633-648, December.
  7. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2009. "Should National Happiness be Maximized?," Chapters,in: Happiness, Economics and Politics, chapter 14 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  8. Paul Frijters & Ingo Geishecker & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Can the Large Swings in Russian Life Satisfaction be Explained by Ups and Downs in Real Incomes?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(3), pages 433-458, October.
  9. Fleurbaey, Marc & Schokkaert, Erik, 2009. "Unfair inequalities in health and health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 73-90, January.
  10. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  11. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  12. Gerard Debreu, 1959. "Topological Methods in Cardinal Utility Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 76, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  13. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
  14. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  15. Erik Schokkaert, 2007. "Capabilities and Satisfaction with Life," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 415-430.
  16. Samuelson, Paul A, 1974. "Complementarity-An Essay on the 40th Anniversary of the Hicks-Allen Revolution in Demand Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1255-1289, December.
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