Well-Being and Economics
In Guy Fletcher (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Well-Being (London: Routledge, 2015). ISBN 978-0-415-71453-2
26 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2015 Last revised: 13 Feb 2015
Date Written: January 15, 2015
This chapter explores accounts of individual and social welfare underlying contemporary welfare economics. It argues that there is a one-to-one mapping between three prominent approaches to welfare assessment and three philosophical accounts of individual well-being: while standard economics is based on preference-satisfaction accounts, the economics of happiness is based on mental-state accounts, and the social-indicators / capability approach on objective-list accounts. Moreover, it argues that at least standard economics and the economics of happiness are based on some utilitarian social welfare criterion. The discussion underscores how economists both use and produce philosophy in their scientific practice, and consequently how economists and philosophers may have much to learn from each other.
Keywords: Well-Being, Welfare, Happiness, Capability, Social Indicators, Utilitarianism
JEL Classification: B40, D60
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation