Happiness Studies and Legal Policy

Peter H. Huang

University of Colorado Law School

May 24, 2010

6 Annual Review of Law & Social Science 405 (2010)

Social scientists have conducted numerous empirical and experimental studies of self-reported happiness. This review focuses on two fundamental areas of research in happiness and law, namely alternative measures of happiness and various policies to foster happiness. There are many aspects, concepts, dimensions, and visions of happiness. Empirical findings often depend critically on which particular measure of happiness is analyzed. Happiness studies have applications to national well-being indices; policy evaluation; civil judicial and jury decision-making about liability and damages in cases of sexual harassment, employment discrimination, torts; optimal tax law design; family law; criminal sentencing, legal education, and legal practice. There are decision-making, health, productivity, and psychological benefits to various types of happiness. There are more or less paternalistic happiness interventions, including policies to encourage regular physical exercise, good sleep, and meditation. Hopefully analysis of these topics offers exemplars of possibilities and limits to utilizing happiness studies in designing legal policy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 33

Keywords: Positive Affect, Life Judgments, Satisfaction, Subjective Well-Being, Parentalism

JEL Classification: D03, D60, D63, I131, K0

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: May 26, 2010 ; Last revised: February 10, 2015

Suggested Citation

Huang, Peter H., Happiness Studies and Legal Policy (May 24, 2010). 6 Annual Review of Law & Social Science 405 (2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1615501

Contact Information

Peter H. Huang (Contact Author)
University of Colorado Law School ( email )
Colorado Law
401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303 492-4563 (Phone)
303-492-1200 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://lawweb.colorado.edu/profiles/profile.jsp?id=456

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,939
Downloads: 430
Download Rank: 51,609
Paper comments
No comments have been made on this paper