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Should National Happiness Be Maximized ?


Frey, Bruno S; Stutzer, Alois (2007). Should National Happiness Be Maximized ? Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 306, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Cross-disciplinary ‘happiness research’ has made big progress in the measurementnof individual welfare. This development makes it tempting to pursue the old dream ofnmaximizing aggregate happiness as a social welfare function. However, we postulate that thenappropriate approach is not to maximize aggregate happiness in seeking to improve outcomesnby direct policy interventions. The goal of happiness research should rather be to improve thennature of the processes through which individuals can express their preferences. Individualsnshould become better able to advance their idea of the good life, both individually andncollectively.

Abstract

Cross-disciplinary ‘happiness research’ has made big progress in the measurementnof individual welfare. This development makes it tempting to pursue the old dream ofnmaximizing aggregate happiness as a social welfare function. However, we postulate that thenappropriate approach is not to maximize aggregate happiness in seeking to improve outcomesnby direct policy interventions. The goal of happiness research should rather be to improve thennature of the processes through which individuals can express their preferences. Individualsnshould become better able to advance their idea of the good life, both individually andncollectively.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:March 2007
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 22:47
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 13:02
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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