Understanding the key determinants of people’s life satisfaction will suggest policies for how best to reduce misery and promote wellbeing. This column discusses evidence from survey data on Australia, Britain, Germany, and the US which indicate that the things that matter most are people’s social relationships and their mental and physical health; and that the best predictor of an adult’s life satisfaction is their emotional health as a child. The authors call for a new focus for public policy: not ‘wealth creation’ but ‘wellbeing creation’.Bringing down Bentham's utility calculus based on material satisfaction. that can be measured in terms of economics rather than psychological well-being.
Origins of happiness: Evidence and policy implications
Andrew Clark, Sarah Fleche, Richard Layard, Nattavudh Powdthavee, George Ward