, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 347-366
Date: 07 Jul 2007

Education, Happiness and Wellbeing

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Answers to the questions ‘Does education influence happiness and if so, how and how much?’ depend on how one defines and operationalizes ‘education’, ‘influences’ and ‘happiness’. A great variety of research scenarios may be constructed from our three essential variables. What public policies one ought to adopt and implement regarding the influence of education on happiness depends minimally on which of the great variety of research scenarios one adopts and maximally on lots of other things as well. My personal preference is for a robust definition of the three terms. Because human beings are complex organisms, an adequate construction of the idea of human wellbeing must also be complex. Therefore, any discipline-driven, reductionist definition that pyschologizes, medicalizes, economizes, geneticizes, socializes or politicizes the idea should be avoided.