Happiness, Growth, and Public Policy†

Presidential Address, Western Economic Association International, July 1, 2012

Economic Inquiry, Vol. 51, Issue 1, pp. 1-15, 2013

15 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2012

See all articles by Richard A. Easterlin

Richard A. Easterlin

University of Southern California - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: January 2013

Abstract

If society's goal is to increase people's feelings of well‐being, economic growth in itself will not do the job. Full employment and a generous and comprehensive social safety net do increase happiness. Such policies are arguably affordable not only in higher income nations but also in countries that account for most of the population of the less‐developed world. These conclusions are suggested by an analysis of a wide range of evidence on happiness in countries throughout the world.

JEL Classification: I31, I38, O21, F20, D60, E60

Suggested Citation

Easterlin, Richard A., Happiness, Growth, and Public Policy† (January 2013). Presidential Address, Western Economic Association International, July 1, 2012; Economic Inquiry, Vol. 51, Issue 1, pp. 1-15, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2183016 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7295.2012.00505.x

Richard A. Easterlin (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3620 South Vermont Ave. Kaprielian (KAP) Hall, 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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