Skip to main content

Measuring Happiness

Abstract

Happiness is about people’s feelings, so it’s measured by asking people how they feel: how happy they are, how satisfied with their lives, or where they stand on a “ladder of life.” The answers to such state-of-life questions turn out to be truthful and for most people do not change much from day to day or week to week. The responses are also comparable, because most people everywhere, when asked what’s important for their happiness, voice the same three principal factors: economic situation, family life, and health. Although responses differ from one person to the next in what specifically makes for happiness, these differences typically average out when we study groups of people, whether they are rich or poor, young or old, Americans or Indonesians. The three main sources of happiness predominate everywhere.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

eBook
USD   14.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-61962-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   19.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 2.1

References and Further Reading

  • Campbell, A. (1972). Aspirations, satisfaction, and fulfilment. In A. Campbell & P. E. Converse (Eds.), The human meaning of social change (pp. 441–466). New York: Russell Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cantril, H. (1965). The pattern of human concerns. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. D. (Eds.). (2019). World happiness report 2019 (pp. 13–47). New York, NY: Sustainable Solutions Network.

    Google Scholar 

  • Helliwell, J. F., & Wang, S. (2013). The state of world happiness. In J. F. Helliwell, R. Layard, & J. D. Sachs (Eds.), World happiness report (pp. 10–57). New York, NY: Earth Institute of Columbia University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kapteyn, A., Lee, J., Tassot, C., Vonkova, H., & Zamarro, G. (2015). Dimensions of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 123, 625–660.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mishan, E. J. (1969). Welfare economics: Ten introductory essays. New York, NY: Random House.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Easterlin, R.A. (2021). Measuring Happiness. In: An Economist’s Lessons on Happiness. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61962-6_2

Download citation