Skip to Main Content

Econ Focus

Measuring Quality of Life: How should we assess improvements to our standard of living?

Economists and policymakers often use average income as a way to gauge a country's "standard of living." But income alone doesn't capture overall quality of life. Should policymakers use other measures — including health, education, and even aggregate happiness — when making economic policy?

Related Links

Beshears, John, James J. Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte C. Madrian. "How Are Preferences Revealed?" Journal of Public Economics, 2008, vol. 92, issue 8-9, pp. 1787-1794. (non-gated version – working paper version from a few months prior to publication in JPE)

Feldstein, Martin. "Reducing Poverty, Not Inequality." The Public Interest, Fall 1999, No. 137, pp. 33-41.

Stevenson, Betsey, and Justin Wolfers. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring 2008, pp. 1-87.

____. "Happiness Inequality in the United States." Journal of Legal Studies, 2008, vol. 37, issue s2, pp. s33-s79.

Phone Icon Contact Us

David A. Price (804) 697-8018