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What good is happiness?

Marc Fleurbaey, Erik Schokkaert and Koen Decancq ()

No 2009017, CORE Discussion Papers from Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Abstract: In this paper we examine whether, and how, welfare economics should incorporate the insights from happiness and satisfaction studies. Our main point is that measuring well-being by reported satisfaction levels can come in conáict with individuals judgments about their own lives and that these individual judgments should be respected. We propose an alternative measure of welfare in terms of equivalent incomes that does respect individual preferences. Satisfaction surveys are useful, however, to derive information about preferences. We illustrate our approach with panel data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) for the period 1995-2003 and we compare the results for equivalent incomes with the results for subjective satisfaction.

Keywords: happiness; satisfaction; preferences; welfare economics; psychology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D60 D71 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap, nep-hpe, nep-ltv and nep-neu
Date: 2009-03-01
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http://www.uclouvain.be/cps/ucl/doc/core/documents/coredp2009_17.pdf (application/pdf)

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Working Paper: What Good is Happiness? (2009) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cor:louvco:2009017

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