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The book reviews the theory and concepts of happiness, explaining how these concepts underpin a line of research which is both an attempt to understand the determinants of happiness and a tool for understanding the effects of a host of phenomena on human well being. The research finds surprising consistency in the determinants of happiness across levels of development. Yet there is still much debate over the relationship between happiness and income. The book explores the effects of many mediating factors in that relationship, ranging from macroeconomic trends and democracy to inequality and crime. It also reviews what we know about happiness and health and how that relationship varies according to income levels and health status. It concludes by discussing the potential--and the potential pitfalls--of using happiness surveys to contribute to better public policy.
Introduction - Why Study Happiness?
1. The Economics of Happiness
2. The Happiness and Income Debate: Substance, Methodology, and the Easterlin Paradox
3. The Determinants of Happiness around the World
4. Does Happiness Matter?
5. Happiness and Health across Countries and Cultures
6. Economic Growth, Crises, Inequality, and More
7. Adapting to Good and Bad Fortune: How Friends, Freedom, Crime, and Corruption affect Happiness
8. Happiness around the World: Lessons - and Questions - for Policy