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Economists are increasingly using happiness surveys to study a host of questions, ranging from the happiness effects of health and marriage to the unhappiness effects of unemployment, divorce, and even commuting time. Carol Graham was a pioneer in the economic study of happiness, and she has been involved from the beginning in discussions about applying this approach to economic policymaking.
In this straightforward and accessible book, Graham explores what we know about the determinants of happiness across and within countries of different development levels, including some counterintuitive and surprising relationships. She then raises the challenges posed by the use of these measures as comparative indicators. Foremost among these are the extent to which people can adapt to adversity and still report to be happy (the "happy peasant and frustrated achiever" problem) and the need for clarity on the definition of happiness.
Centuries ago, the study of happiness was of great interest to economists and philosophers such as Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham. As the economics profession turned more toward quantitative methods, however, the approach fell out of fashion. Over a century later, economists are circling back, and research on happiness has entered the mainstream. There are a number of efforts underway to develop national level well-being measures. The objective is to develop metrics that can be compared within and across countries and ultimately used as complements to traditional income and GDP data.
A definition of well-being that is broader than income could lead to improved understanding of poverty and the development process. But what are the components of such a metric, and should greater happiness become a specific policy goal? Should we be using happiness measures as a guide to development policies? These are the critical issues addressed in this book.
Contents 1. Happiness: A New Science? 2. What Do We Mean by "Happiness," and Why Does it Matter? 3. Happiness around the World: What We Know Now 4. Adaptation and Other Puzzles 5. Happiness Rather than GDP?
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Carol Graham is a senior fellow in Global Economy and Development and Charles Robinson Chair in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. She is also College Park Professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy. Her previous books include Happiness around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires (Oxford University Press) and Happiness and Hardship: Opportunity and Insecurity in New Market Economies (Brookings Institution Press, with Stefano Pettinato).Review:
"As acceptance of social science research on happiness continues to grow, a new question has naturally surged to the fore: Should happiness be a goal of public policy? In this eloquently written celebration of a new science, Carol Graham provides valuable new insight into the pros and cons of this issue."—Richard A. Easterlin, University Professor and Professor of Economics, University of Southern California
"Since 1776 the "pursuit of happiness" has been the great world question. Here, reflecting on modern survey techniques and results, Carol Graham drills deeper. What does happiness mean? For example, is it opportunity for a meaningful life? Or, is it blissful contentment? And why does it vary, as it does, across individuals and around the world? How does the perception of happiness differ in countries as disparate as Cuba, Afghanistan, Japan, and Russia? Carol Graham is opening up a whole new frontier in economic and social policy."—George Akerlof, Daniel E. Koshland Sr. Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of California–Berkeley, and 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics
" The Pursuit of Happiness is a consummate work of scholarship that adds important insights to the worldwide debate on economic well-being. Around the world, governments and citizens are realizing that the Gross National Product is often failing to steer our economies towards desirable ends. The search is on for more appropriate metrics and goals. Carol Graham, a pioneer in the field of "happiness economics," builds on a decade of her research to offer clear and careful suggestions for policymakers and scholars who aim to make happiness a central and explicit aim of public policy. With great care and judgment, and consistent clear thinking, Graham explains many of the complexities that will arise in defining, measuring, and targeting happiness in economic policy. Yet Graham urges us to persevere, and her new book will help the world to move forward on this new and promising economic course."—Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals
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Book Description Brookings Institution Press, 2011. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0815721277
Book Description Brookings Institution Press, 2011. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0815721277
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-0815721277