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How do we measure happiness? Focusing on subjective measures as a proxy for welfare and well-being, this book finds ways to do that. Subjective measures have been used by psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, and, more recently, economists to answer a variety of scientifically and politically relevant questions. Van Praag, a pioneer in this field since 1971, and Ferrer-i-Carbonell present in this book a generally applicable methodology for the analysis of subjective satisfaction. Drawing on a range of surveys on people's satisfaction with their jobs, income, housing, marriages, and government policy, among other areas of life, this book shows how satisfaction with life "as a whole" is an aggregate of these domain satisfactions. Using German, British, Dutch, and Russian data, the authors cover a wide range of topics, even some not usually considered part of economic study. The book makes a distinction between actual satisfaction levels and individual norms, and in this way complements Van Praag's earlier work within the Leyden School with his later work in "happiness research". Among the many topics covered, the authors discuss: individuals' memory and anticipation processes and the estimation of adaptation phenomena (how individuals adapt to changing circumstances); the effect of reference groups on income norms and satisfaction with income; the importance of climate for well-being, including the development of a climate-equivalence index; the trade-offs between chronic diseases and income when well-being is kept constant; the damage of aircraft noise on well-being; the construction of a new talent tax tariff; and inequality from a satisfaction perspective, including the definition of "satisfaction inequalities", a natural extension of income inequality and poverty. This groundbreaking book presents new and fruitful methodology that consitutes a welcome addition to the social sciences.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780198286547
ISBN-10: 0198286546
Format: Hardback
(242mm x 164mm x 25mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 6-Apr-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Bernard M. S. van Praag

B. M. S. van Praag studied econometrics at the University of Amsterdam where he defended his dissertation on "Individual Welfare and the Theory of Consumer Behaviour" cum laude in 1968. Between 1969 and 1992 he held consecutive positions as Professor at the Free University of Brussels, Associate Professor at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Professor of Economics at the University of Leiden, and Professor at Erasmus University. In 1992 he was appointed Professor in Applied Economic Research at the University of Amsterdam and Managing Director of the Foundation for Economic Research. In 2000 he became University Professor at the University of Amsterdam. He was the founding president of the European Society for Population Economics, and has been co-editor of the Journal of Population Economics, a member of the Dutch Social Economic Council, and a member of the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell graduated in Economics at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in 1994. In 1997 she received a Fulbright scholarship to do graduate studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (Troy, NY, USA), where she obtained an M.S. in Economics. In 1999 she joined the Faculty of Economics and Econometrics at the University of Amsterdam and the Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam, where in 2003 she obtained her PhD on applied welfare economics supervised by B.M.S. van Praag. In the same year, she obtained a second PhD on ecological economics from RPI. She currently works for the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

Books By Author Bernard M. S. van Praag

Happiness Quantified by Bernard M. S. van Praag

Happiness Quantified

Paperback, December 2007
$61.16