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Measuring Well-Being and Lives Worth Living

Marc Fleurbaey () and Gregory Ponthiere ()
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Marc Fleurbaey: Princeton University

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Abstract: We study the measurement of well-being when individuals have hetero- geneous preferences, including di_erent conceptions of a life worth living. When individuals di_er in the conception of a life worth living, the equivalent income can regard an individual whose life is not worth living as being better o_ than an individual whose life is worth living. In order to avoid that paradoxical result, we reexamine the ethical foundations of well-being measures in such a way as to take into account heterogeneity in the conception of a life worth living. We derive, from simple axioms, an alternative measure of well-being, which is an equivalent income net of the income threshold making lifetime neutral. That new well-being index always ranks an individual whose life is not worth living as worse-o_ than an individual with a life worth living.

Keywords: Well-being; measurement; equivalent income; lifetime; value of life (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem and nep-hap
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