Nick Nattavudh Powdthavee

Should the Government Aim to Make Us Happy?

with Will Davies, Susan Harkness, Nick Powdthavee, Dani Rodrik and Chris Giles (Chair)

Economics/
Thu 17 November 2016

Should the Government Aim to Make Us Happy?

with Will Davies, Susan Harkness, Nick Powdthavee, Dani Rodrik and Chris Giles (Chair)

Nick Nattavudh Powdthavee
Thu 17 November 2016,

Should government policy focus on our happiness rather than economic growth and incomes? Some economists think so, arguing that above a certain living standard, happiness does not increase one for one with incomes. But when happiness depends on highly personal factors such as relationships and religion, and when some people can be perfectly happy on low incomes, do we really want it to be the measure of government policy? Does the well-being agenda risk an intrusion of technocratic power into individual decisions? The debate about ‘happiness economics’ raises fundamental questions about the purpose of government, the role of economics and economists in shaping policy, and what it is we mean by economic welfare.

Photo of Nick (Nattavudh) Powdthavee.

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