... and the Pursuit of Happiness - Wellbeing and the Role of Government
127 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2012 Last revised: 29 Aug 2013
Date Written: January 16, 2012
In spite of general reductions in government spending, the prime minister has found room in the government's budget to spend money on a major survey of what makes the British people happy. This will be used, in the prime minister’s own words, to guide government policy towards improvement in general wellbeing rather than improvements in national income.
But is it really true that government policy has always been orientated towards maximizing GDP? Is it true that wellbeing does not increase as income increases? Is it true that more equal societies are happier societies? Can we really improve wellbeing through workplace legislation? Is it right to orientate government policy towards the single aim of increasing aggregate wellbeing across society as a whole? These questions and many more are tackled by some of the leading intellectuals in the field. Overall, this monograph provides a substantial challenge to those who want to put the explicit pursuit of wellbeing at the heart of government policy.
Keywords: happiness economics, wellbeing, government spending, economic theory
JEL Classification: A11, A13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation