Economic Welfare Measurement and Human Well-Being

Avner Offer

in The Challenge of Affluence

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216628
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696015 | DOI:

Series: The Challenge of Affluence

Economic Welfare Measurement and Human Well-Being

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This chapter considers how the resources of well-being are conventionally evaluated, and in particular, the impact of economic resources on subjective and social well-being. Affluence has liberated most people from the anxieties of subsistence, but much more moderate affluence would have sufficed. Since the Second World War, and especially since the 1970s, self-reported happiness has languished at the same levels, or has even declined. That is the ‘paradox of happiness’. On any measure used, the rise of aggregate money incomes has done little or nothing to improve the sense of well-being. Levels of life expectation have been similar in rich and in middle-income countries, and higher than the United States even in several poor countries.

Keywords: economic welfare; social well-being; affluence; income; happiness

Chapter.  8723 words.  Illustrated.

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