How economists measure whether you're happy.

The economic mysteries of daily life.
Dec. 9 2006 1:32 AM

The Not-So-Dismal Science

How economists measure whether you're happy.

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The new happiness research is starting to show up in policy proposals—for example, British economist Lord Richard Layard is campaigning for more government funding for cognitive behavioral therapists. But Kahneman and Krueger are proposing something low-key but potentially rather subversive: national time-use accounts, which would attempt to measure how a nation's citizens typically spend their time and how they feel while they are doing it. It remains to be seen whether their findings will put a smile on anyone's face.

Tim Harford is a Financial Times columnist. His latest book, The Logic of Life, will be published in paperback on Feb. 10.

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