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Law and Happiness

Since the earliest days of philosophy, thinkers have debated the meaning of the term happiness and the nature of the good life. But it is only in recent years that the study of happiness—or “hedonics”—has developed into a formal field of inquiry, cutting across a broad range of disciplines and offering insights into a variety of crucial questions of law and public policy.

Law and Happiness
brings together the best and most influential thinkers in the field to explore the question of what makes up happiness—and what factors can be demonstrated to increase or decrease it. Martha Nussbaum offers an account of the way that hedonics can productively be applied to psychology, Cass R. Sunstein considers the unexpected relationship between happiness and health problems, Matthew Adler and Eric A. Posner view hedonics through the lens of cost-benefit analysis, David A. Weisbach considers the relationship between happiness and taxation, and Mark A. Cohen examines the role crime—and fear of crime—can play in people’s assessment of their happiness, and much more.

The result is a kaleidoscopic overview of this increasingly prominent field, offering surprising new perspectives and incisive analyses that will have profound implications on public policy.

368 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2010

Economics and Business: Economics--General Theory and Principles

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Economics, Law and Society

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Conference on Law and Happiness Eric A. Posner and Cass R. SunsteinMeasuring Well-Being for Public Policy: Preferences or Experiences? Paul Dolan and Tessa PeasgoodHappiness Inequality in the United States Betsey Stevenson and Justin WolfersWho Is the Happy Warrior? Philosophy Poses Questions to Psychology Martha C. NussbaumTwo Recommendations on the Pursuit of Happiness Christopher K. Hsee, Fei Xu, and Ningyu TangHive Psychology, Happiness, and Public Policy Jonathan Haidt, J. Patrick Seder, and Selin KesebirIllusory Losses Cass R. SunsteinPain and Suffering Awards: They Shouldn’t Be (Just) about Pain and Suffering Peter A. Ubel and George LoewensteinDeath, Happiness, and the Calculation of Compensatory DamagesAndrew J. Oswald and Nattavudh PowdthaveeHappiness Research and Cost-Benefit AnalysisMatthew Adler and Eric A. PosnerWhat Does Happiness Research Tell Us About Taxation?David A. WeisbachThe Effect of Crime on Life SatisfactionMark A. Cohen


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