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Happiness Institutions

16 Pages Posted: 9 May 2013  

Jennifer Nou

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: May 7, 2013


Subjective well-being, or happiness, measures will not reside in sterile vacuums but rather will thrive within policymaking institutions. This Commentary argues that such measures necessarily implicate issues of deep disagreement that must be resolved by legitimate actors and procedures. Given the current lack of methodological consensus, individual agencies should thus experiment with happiness measures in discrete rulemakings when the available well-being data are robust and could usefully supplement a rule’s cost-benefit analysis. This Commentary was written for Duke Law Journal’s annual administrative law symposium on “A Happiness Approach to Cost-Benefit Analysis”.

Keywords: subjective well-being, happiness, cost-benefit analysis, welfare, social cost of carbon

JEL Classification: I30, K20, K23

Suggested Citation

Nou, Jennifer, Happiness Institutions (May 7, 2013). Duke Law Journal, Vol. 62, No. 8, 2013. Available at SSRN:

Jennifer Nou (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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