The Politics of Happiness: What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being

The Politics of Happiness: What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being

by Derek Bok
     
 

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ISBN-10: 069115256X

ISBN-13: 9780691152561

Pub. Date: 09/26/2011

Publisher: Princeton University Press

During the past forty years, thousands of studies have been carried out on the subject of happiness. Some have explored the levels of happiness or dissatisfaction associated with typical daily activities, such as working, seeing friends, or doing household chores. Others have tried to determine the extent to which income, family, religion, and other factors are

Overview

During the past forty years, thousands of studies have been carried out on the subject of happiness. Some have explored the levels of happiness or dissatisfaction associated with typical daily activities, such as working, seeing friends, or doing household chores. Others have tried to determine the extent to which income, family, religion, and other factors are associated with the satisfaction people feel about their lives. The Gallup organization has begun conducting global surveys of happiness, and several countries are considering publishing periodic reports on the growth or decline of happiness among their people. One nation, tiny Bhutan, has actually made "Gross National Happiness" the central aim of its domestic policy. How might happiness research affect government policy in the United States—and beyond? In The Politics of Happiness, former Harvard president Derek Bok examines how governments could use the rapidly growing research data on what makes people happy—in a variety of policy areas to increase well-being and improve the quality of life for all their citizens.

Bok first describes the principal findings of happiness researchers. He considers how reliable the results appear to be and whether they deserve to be taken into account in devising government policies. Recognizing both the strengths and weaknesses of happiness research, Bok looks at the policy implications for economic growth, equality, retirement, unemployment, health care, mental health, family programs, education, and government quality, among other subjects. Timely and incisive, The Politics of Happiness sheds new light on what makes people happy and how government policy could foster greater satisfaction for all.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691152561
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/26/2011
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
CHAPTER 1: What Investigators Have Discovered 9
CHAPTER 2: The Reliability of Research on Happiness 32
CHAPTER 3: Should Policy-Makers Use Happiness Research? 45
CHAPTER 4: The Question of Growth 63
CHAPTER 5: What to Do about Inequality 79
CHAPTER 6: The Threat of Financial Hardship 99
CHAPTER 7: Relieving Suffering 124
CHAPTER 8: Marriages and Families 139
CHAPTER 9: Education 156
CHAPTER 10: The Quality of Government 179
CHAPTER 11: The Significance of Happiness Research 204
Notes 213
Index 247

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