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Happiness Policy: Technocratic Or Democratic?

Bruno S. Frey

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While current happiness research has made significant progress, happiness policy, by contrast, is based on two simplistic assumptions: first, that politicians and public administrators are sufficiently informed about what influences subjective life satisfaction; and second, that politicians and public administrators will solely pursue the well-being of the population. However, in a democracy, happiness policy takes the results of happiness research to be only one ingredient (albeit an important one) in the wider political process. Critically, a political discourse that engages citizens, rather than a technocratic approach, is the way forward when considering the advantages and disadvantages of particular happiness policies.