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Individual well-being

Individual well-being was studied even by Aristoteles, and also by many sociologists and scientists. The economics started to study this topic only recently. In my thesis I made the comparison between the main economic measures and subjective measures of individual well-being. The economic indicators are a proxy of individual welfare - in this part I discussed the main advantages and disadvantages of economic indicators, and above all, of the Gross domestic product. In second part I discuss the subjective measures of well-being. Then I speak about main factors that can influence the happiness and also if there is an informative value of subjective measures.

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1 Introduction For centuries, people developed ideas about individual happiness, well – being and human flourishing. These questions have a long tradition in philosophy, psychology and only recently in economics too. There have also been important contributions by sociologists and political scientists. In this thesis I would like to present recent contributions of economics related to individual well-being. The happiness and subjective measures are the object of scientific study since the beginning of the twentieth century but the interest in this topic has even accelerated rapidly in the last few years. How can be measured the happiness? The traditional economics uses many economic indicators like for example Gross domestic product (GDP), Gross domestic product per capita (GDPP), Gross national income (GNI), Net domestic product (NDP) and so on. It is assumed, according to economists, that an individual is well-off when he satisfies his preferences, therefore economic measures are based on preference-satisfaction accounts of well-being. That’s why the utility is understood as an index of preference satisfaction and is calculated as the total average of individual preference-satisfaction level. But are these economic indicators sufficient to measure how much satisfied people are in their country? Does the major Gross domestic product in a country mean that people in this country are more satisfied in their life or happier than people in a country with minor GDP? An increasing number of social and behavioral scientists now argue that subjective measures of well-being should replace or complement economic welfare measures. Subjective measures differ from economic measures because are based on an account of individual welfare, according to which, welfare is a matter of mental states. These measures are based on direct questions like: ”How happy are you?, How satisfied are you with your life?” Then the answers are used to construct the indicators of well-being. We can mention some countries that preferred to use these indicators to measure the happiness of their inhabitants. For example the king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who has since 1972 as nation’s priority the indicator called Gross national happiness (GNH) and not the GDP. There are also many other countries that followed this example.

Laurea liv.I

Facoltà: Economia

Autore: Zuzana Milickova Contatta »

Composta da 48 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 150 click dal 05/05/2011.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.