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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Today1 there is increasing support for the idea that governments should aim at greater happiness for a greater number of citizens. Is this a mission impossible? The following questions arise in this context: (1) Is greater happiness in a nation feasible? (2) If so, can governments do much about it? (3) If so, what can governments do to raise happiness in their country? (4) How does the pursuit of happiness fit with other political aims? In this paper, I take stock of the available research findings on happiness that bear answers to these questions. To do this, I use a large collection of research findings gathered in the World Database of Happiness. These data show that greater happiness is possible, and indicate some ways to achieve this goal. The pursuit of public happiness fits well with several other policy aims.

Keywords: happiness, life-satisfaction, research synthesis, utilitarianism, nations

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