- Copyright Page
- Rational Choice and Politics: An Introduction to the Research Program and Methodology of Public Choice
- Choosing among Governments
- Public Choice: Early Contributions
- From Paired Comparisons and Cycles to Arrow’s Theorem
- Institution-Induced Stability
- Voting Power
- Aggregation of Information by Binary Voting Rules
- Political Choices in One Dimension: Theory
- Political Choices in One Dimension: Applications
- Spatial Voting Models of Party Competition in Two Dimensions
- Spatial Social Choice
- Economic Voting
- Valence Politics
- The Study of Strategic Voting
- Turnout: Why Do Voters Vote?
- Expressive Voting
- Altruism and Political Participation
- Social Embeddedness and Rational Turnout
- Information Cues and Rational Ignorance
- Campaign Finance
- Primaries, Conventions, and Other Methods for Nominating Candidates: How Do They Matter?
- Logrolling and Coalitions
- Collective Action
- Rent Seeking: The Social Cost of Contestable Benefits
- The Structure of Contests and the Extent of Dissipation
- The Political Economy of Rent Creation and Rent Extraction
- Empirical Evidence on Rent-Seeking Costs
- “The Bureaucracy” as an Interest Group
- Interest Groups and Regulatory Capture
- The Political Economy of Trust
- Contested Political Persuasion
- Stochastic Process Models of Preference Change
- Leadership as Persuasion
- Fairness Concepts
- Social Contract versus Invisible Hand: Agreeing to Solve Social Dilemmas
- Utilitarianism as a Criterion for State Action
- Public Choice and Happiness
- Kantianism and Political Institutions
- Public Choice and Libertarianism
- Public Choice and Social Democracy
- Supreme Values, Totalitarianism, and Terrorism
- Fair Division in Dispute Resolution
- Fair Division in Allocating Cabinet Ministries
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter discusses how the analysis of self-reported measures of subjective well-being can contribute to a better understanding of the extent to which public choices serve individuals’ preferences. Research insights will be drawn from the analysis of the well-being consequences of alternative institutional arrangements, the assessment of specific policies, the study of procedural utility, and the testing of theoretical predictions derived from models of the political process. The chapter also adopts a reverse perspective and discusses how the application of insights from public choice analyses can inform and inspire happiness research on issues related to public policy. In particular, happiness indicators provide new and complementary information about the satisfaction of citizens’ preferences, which will strengthen democratic competition. However, the happiness approach also has clear limitations if it is understood as a decision rule for good policy and the interaction between citizens and the government is reduced to monitoring reported happiness.
Bruno Frey is Permanent Visiting Professor at the University of Basel.
Alois Stutzer is Professor of Political Economics and Director of the Center for Research in Economics and Well-Being at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
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