Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Tyranny of UtilityBehavioral Social Science and the Rise of Paternalism$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gilles Saint-Paul

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128177

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128177.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

From Utility to Happiness

From Utility to Happiness

(p.51) 5 From Utility to Happiness
The Tyranny of Utility

Gilles Saint-Paul

Princeton University Press

This chapter suggests using some direct measure of individual well-being, such as happiness, as the basis of a theory of individual welfare. The recent literature on behavioral economics includes a growing research on its determinants. In general, proponents of this approach claim that they are measuring the relevant utility, that is, the flow of an individual's well-being, in a direct way. Some authors see a superiority over revealed preferences even independently of the psychological phenomena discussed in the preceding chapter, in that revealed preferences measure well-being only if the assumption of a rational utility-maximizing individual is correct, whereas measures of happiness would, by definition, directly measure utility. However, measures of self-reported happiness can be problematic. The answers can reflect what people think they are supposed to say, rather than their true feelings. These expectations can vary across people, cultures, and economic circumstances. As such, this can generate all sorts of biases.

Keywords:   individual well-being, happiness, individual welfare, behavioral economics, utility, revealed preferences, self-reported happiness

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.