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Science and Policy


  • Date Published: March 2023
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781009298940

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About the Authors
  • What produces a happy society and a happy life? Thanks to the new science of wellbeing, we can now answer this question using state-of-the-art empirical evidence. This transforms our ability to base our decisions on the outcomes that matter most, namely the wellbeing of us all including future generations. Written by two of the world's leading experts on the economics of wellbeing, this book shows how wellbeing can be measured, what causes it and how it can be improved. Its findings are profoundly relevant to all social sciences, including psychology, economics, politics, behavioural science and sociology. A field-defining text on a new science that aims to span the whole of human life, this will be an invaluable resource for undergraduate and graduate students, policy-makers and employers, who can apply its insights in their professional and private lives. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.

    • First field-defining book on the economics of welbeing
    • Written by two of the world's leading experts on wellbeing
    • Contains a wealth of examples and practical advice, as well as giving readers a solid grounding in theory
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Wellbeing: Science and Policy is a wonderful book by two giants in the field. It is a serious treatment of the potential - and limitations - of wellbeing metrics as analytical and scientific tools, as well as their many possible applications to policy frames and designs. It serves as an introduction to the field and is written in approachable language and with clarity of definition of technical areas. It is a book that will make a lasting contribution to the advancement and understanding of the new science of wellbeing.' Carol Graham, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, and College Park Professor, The University of Maryland

    'There can be no doubt that this will become THE field-defining textbook of the next decade. Anyone who wants to get into wellbeing research and policy simply must read it. Even if you don't think wellbeing is your thing, you'll have your mind changed or, at the very least, be smarter and happier from reading it.' Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science, LSE, and author of Happiness by Design and Happy Ever After

    'Economists are the first to concede that Gross Domestic Product is, well, gross - a crude contributor to what really matters: human wellbeing. Richard Layard has been at the forefront of reorienting economics towards what really matters. In this book with Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, he presents the current state of this important rethinking.' Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment Now

    'A clear, thorough and thoughtful survey of the key issues and major findings in the science of wellbeing that could - and should - inform public policy. Essential reading for anyone who wants to know what 'making the world a better place' really means.' Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of the New York Times best-seller Stumbling on Happiness; host of the PBS television series This Emotional Life

    'Wellbeing and Policy is the best book I have read in a long time - a fountain of knowledge and an inspiring call to action.' Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winner for his pioneering work in behavioural economics and author of the best-selling Thinking Fast and Slow

    'Fills a fundamental need.' Robert Schiller, Nobel laureate

    '… a great example of a book that appeals to both experts in the field and newcomers. For the former, it broadens researchers' perspectives while delving into rich technical detail.' Egor Bronnikov, LSE Review of Books

    'This well-written book will serve as a great textbook for advanced high school or college courses in philosophy, political science, and/or economics. The text will also be easily understood and appreciated by the general public. … Highly recommended.' R. F. White, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2023
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781009298940
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 242 x 168 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.61kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Case for Wellbeing:
    1. What subjective wellbeing is and why it matters
    2. Wellbeing as the goal for society
    Part II. Human Nature and Wellbeing:
    3. How our behaviour affects our wellbeing
    4. How our thoughts affect our wellbeing
    5. Our bodies, our genes and our wellbeing
    Part III. How Our Experience Affects Our Wellbeing:
    6. The inequality of wellbeing: some basic facts
    7. Tools to explain wellbeing
    8. Explaining wellbeing: a first exploration
    9. Family, schooling and social media
    10. Health and healthcare
    11. Unemployment
    12. The quality of work
    13. Income
    14. Community
    15. The physical environment and the planet
    Part IV. Government and Wellbeing:
    16. How government affects wellbeing
    17. How wellbeing affects voting
    18. Cost effectiveness and policy choice.

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    Richard Layard, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve

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  • Authors

    Richard Layard, London School of Economics and Political Science
    Richard Layard is a leading British Economist, who thinks society's goal should be the wellbeing of the people. His landmark book Happiness: Lessons from a New Science has influenced policy-makers worldwide. He is co-founder of Action for Happiness, of the World Happiness Report and of the World Wellbeing Movement. In 2020 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Britain's ESRC.

    Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, University of Oxford
    Jan-Emmanuel De Neve is a Belgian Economist and professor at the University of Oxford where he directs the Wellbeing Research Centre. He is best known for his research on the economics of wellbeing which was selected among "The Management Ideas that Mattered Most" by Harvard Business Review and he was awarded the Veenhoven Award for his contributions to the scientific study of happiness. He is an editor of the World Happiness Report and co-founder of the World Wellbeing Movement.

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