Social Indicators Research

, Volume 111, Issue 2, pp 561–578 | Cite as

Innovativeness and Subjective Well-Being

  • Martin BinderEmail author


What are the effects of innovativeness on well-being? This paper argues that research on subjective well-being has progressed to a point where measures of subjective well-being (or: happiness) can usefully be employed to assess the welfare effects of innovative change. Based on a discussion of the prospects and pitfalls associated with subjective well-being as welfare measure and benchmark of societal progress, an argument is put forward as to why these measures are particularly well-suited in the context of innovative change. Empirically well-founded and with an explicit dynamic foundation, theories of subjective well-being allow for a nuanced and comprehensive assessment of the effects that innovativeness has on a society. Two evaluation rules, the “life domain evaluation principle” and the “welfare dynamics principle” are suggested to guide such normative assessment.


Subjective well-being Innovations Public policy Happiness 



The author gratefully acknowledges funding under the FP7 framework of the European Union within the AEGIS project. I wish to thank Ulrich Witt as well as the participants of the various AEGIS meetings for helpful comments and suggestions. Errors are mine alone.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evolutionary Economics GroupMax Planck Institute of EconomicsJenaGermany

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