Happiness

I only just now got around to reading Will Wilkinson's magisterial Cato Policy Analysis paper on happiness research, and am sorry I waited almost a whole week. It hits all the big points, bringing together a wide array of research with keen philosophical insight to make sense of what happiness research does and doesn't tell us. If you have even the slightest interest in the subject and haven't read it, I strongly suggest you do so. The methodological critiques Will makes are all quite sensible, but probably the most forceful point in the paper is that the lazy assumption made by many happiness researchers that economic growth is at best neutral and at worst inimical to human happiness is utterly unsupported by the best available data and could not be further from the truth. After reading this, any serious utilitarian who doesn't place economic growth at or near the top of their policy priorities will have a lot of explaining to do.

(For more happiness policy goodness, check the latest roundtable at Cato Unbound.)

Share this