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Issue: Maximising happiness

Societies may be getting richer, but are their citizens getting any happier? Professor Nick Chater discusses the Easterlin paradox.

Governments have to have some way of figuring out whether they’re succeeding or failing, and the way they’ve tended to do this is by looking at some sort of measure of economic growth.

The Easterlin paradox makes one suspect that this may not be such a good idea because it’s clear that societies are getting richer, but they don’t seem to find that their citizens are getting any happier. Could it make sense to try to orient public policy around the goal of maximising gross national happiness instead?

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