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The use of happiness research for public policy


Frey, Bruno S; Stutzer, Alois (2012). The use of happiness research for public policy. Social Choice and Welfare, 38(4):659-674.

Abstract

Research on happiness tends to follow a "benevolent dictator” approach where politicians pursue people's happiness. This paper takes an antithetic approach based on the insights of public choice theory. First, we inquire how the results of happiness research may be used to improve the choice of institutions. Second, we show that the policy approach matters for the choice of research questions and the kind of knowledge happiness research aims to provide. Third, we emphasize that there is no shortcut to an optimal policy maximizing some happiness indicator or social welfare function since governments have an incentive to manipulate this indicator

Abstract

Research on happiness tends to follow a "benevolent dictator” approach where politicians pursue people's happiness. This paper takes an antithetic approach based on the insights of public choice theory. First, we inquire how the results of happiness research may be used to improve the choice of institutions. Second, we show that the policy approach matters for the choice of research questions and the kind of knowledge happiness research aims to provide. Third, we emphasize that there is no shortcut to an optimal policy maximizing some happiness indicator or social welfare function since governments have an incentive to manipulate this indicator

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Language:English
Date:1 April 2012
Deposited On:04 Jul 2019 12:54
Last Modified:26 Jan 2022 18:26
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0176-1714
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00355-011-0629-z

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