Subjective Well-being and Social Evaluation in a Poor Country
John Knight and
No 2014-09, CSAE Working Paper Series from Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford
The empirical literature on the economics of happiness has grown rapidly, and much has been learned about the determinants of subjective well-being. Less attention has been paid to its normative implications. Taking China as a case study, this paper first summarises empirical results on the determinants of subjective well-being and then considers whether that evidence can be used for social evaluation. Different criteria for social evaluation give very different answers: on the one hand, real income per capita and the human development index have risen rapidly in recent years but, on the other hand, subjective well-being appears not to have risen at all. Ultimately a value judgement is required: arguments are presented for and against including subjective well-being, either alone or with other criteria, in the social welfare function.
Keywords: Capabilities; China; Happiness; Human development; Social evaluation; Subjective well-being (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 D63 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap, nep-hpe and nep-tra
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:csa:wpaper:2014-09
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