Happiness, Growth, and Public Policy

51 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2013

See all articles by Richard A. Easterlin

Richard A. Easterlin

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


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.

Keywords: happiness, life satisfaction, subjective well-being, economic growth, safety net policies, developed countries, transition countries, less developed countries, China

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

Suggested Citation

Easterlin, Richard A., Happiness, Growth, and Public Policy. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7234. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2230796

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

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