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A Happy Choice: Wellbeing as the Goal of Government

Andrew Clark (), Paul Frijters (), Christian Krekel () and Richard Layard

CEP Discussion Papers from Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

Abstract: In this article, we lay out the basic case for wellbeing as the goal of government. We briefly review the history of this idea, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and was the acknowledged ideal of the Enlightenment. We then discuss possible measures on which a wellbeing orientation could be based, emphasising the importance of acknowledging the political agency of citizens and thus their own evaluations of their life. We then turn to practicalities and consequences: how would one actually set up wellbeing-oriented decision-making and what difference should we expect from current practice? We end by discussing the current barriers to the adoption of wellbeing as the goal of government, both in terms of what we need to know more about and where the ideological barriers lay.

Keywords: subjective wellbeing; life satisfaction; public policy; political economy; social welfare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D60 D70 H11 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap and nep-hpe
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http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1658.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: A happy choice: wellbeing as the goal of government (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: A Happy Choice: Wellbeing as the Goal of Government (2020)
Working Paper: A Happy Choice: Wellbeing as the Goal of Government (2020)
Working Paper: A Happy Choice: Wellbeing as the Goal of Government (2019) Downloads
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