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The Economics of Happiness

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  • Nikolova, Milena
  • Graham, Carol

Abstract

Welfare and well-being have traditionally been gauged by using income and employment statistics, life expectancy, and other objective measures. The Economics of Happiness, which is based on people’s reports of how their lives are going, provides a complementary yet radically different approach to studying human well-being. Typically, subjective well-being measures include positive and negative feelings (e.g., momentary experiences of happiness or stress), life evaluations (e.g., life satisfaction), and feelings of having a life purpose. Both businesses and policymakers now increasingly make decisions and craft policies based on such measures. This chapter provides an overview of the Happiness Economics approach and outlines the promises and pitfalls of subjective well-being measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikolova, Milena & Graham, Carol, 2020. "The Economics of Happiness," GLO Discussion Paper Series 640, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:640
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    2. Martijn Burger & Martijn Hendriks & Elena Ianchovichina, 2022. "Happy but Unequal: Differences in Subjective Well-Being across Individuals and Space in Colombia," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 17(3), pages 1343-1387, June.
    3. Tofallis, Chris, 2020. "Which formula for national happiness?," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    4. Hetschko, Clemens & Knabe, Andreas & Schöb, Ronnie, 2021. "Happiness, Work, and Identity," GLO Discussion Paper Series 783, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Marina G. Kolosnitsyna & Natalia A. Khorkina & Khongor N. Dorzhiev, 2014. "What Happens To Happiness When People Get Older? Socio-Economic Determinants Of Life Satisfaction In Later Life," HSE Working papers WP BRP 68/EC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    6. de Pedraza, Pablo & Guzi, Martin & Tijdens, Kea, 2020. "Life Dissatisfaction and Anxiety in COVID-19 pandemic," GLO Discussion Paper Series 544, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Cosimato, Silvia & Faggini, Marisa & Prete, Marzia del, 2021. "The co-creation of value for pursuing a sustainable happiness: The analysis of an Italian prison community," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    8. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2020. "Now Unions Increase Job Satisfaction and Well-being," NBER Working Papers 27720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Mojca Svetek & Mateja Drnovsek, 2022. "Exploring the Effects of Types of Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity on Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 149-170, January.
    10. Otrachshenko, Vladimir & Nikolova, Milena & Popova, Olga, 2021. "Double-edged sword: Persistent effects of Communism on life satisfaction," GLO Discussion Paper Series 927, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    11. Chu, Shuai & Zeng, Xiangquan & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2020. "Parental Gender Stereotypes and Student Wellbeing in China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 717, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    12. Pełka Marcin, 2019. "Analysis of Happiness in EU Countries Using the Multi-Model Classification based on Models of Symbolic Data," Econometrics. Advances in Applied Data Analysis, Sciendo, vol. 23(3), pages 15-25, September.
    13. Nikolova, Milena & Nikolaev, Boris & Boudreaux, Christopher, 2021. "Being Your Own Boss and Bossing Others: The Moderating Effect of Managing Others on Work Meaning and Autonomy for the Self-Employed and Employees," IZA Discussion Papers 14909, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Smyth, Russell & Farrell, Lisa, 2020. "Fuel poverty and subjective wellbeing," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    15. Suppa, Nicolai, 2021. "Unemployment and subjective well-being," GLO Discussion Paper Series 760, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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