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A Happy Choice: Wellbeing as the Goal of Government

Paul Frijters (), Andrew Clark (), Christian Krekel () and Richard Layard ()
Additional contact information
Richard Layard: London School of Economics

No 12720, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

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: I3 A10 H10 H83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 34 pages
Date: 2019-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap, nep-his and nep-hpe
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Published in: Behavioural Public Policy, 2020, 4(2), 126–165

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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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