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JournalofHappinessStudies
November2014
Date:16Nov2014

InformedPursuitofHappiness:Whatweshouldknow,doknow
andcangettoknow
Abstract
Therationalpursuitofhappinessrequiresknowledgeofhappinessandinparticularanswerstothefollowingfour
questions:(1)Isgreaterhappinessrealisticallypossible?(2)Ifso,towhatextentisthatinourownhands?(3)
Howcanwegethappier?Whatthingsshouldbeconsideredinthechoiceswemake?(4)Howdoesthepursuitof
happinessfitwithotherthingswevalue?Answerstothesequestionsarenotonlysoughtbyindividualswho
wanttoimprovetheirpersonallife,theyarealsoonthemindofmanagersconcernedaboutthehappinessof
membersoftheirorganizationandofgovernmentsaimingtopromotegreaterhappinessofagreaternumberof
citizens.Alltheseactorsmightmakemoreinformedchoicesiftheycoulddrawonasoundbaseofevidence.In
thispaperItakestockoftheavailableevidenceandtheanswersitholdsforthefourtypesofquestionsaskedby
thethreekindsofactors.Todothis,Iusealargecollectionofresearchfindingsonhappinessgatheredinthe
WorldDatabaseofHappiness,whichservesasanonlinesupplementtothispaper.Thedataprovidegood
answerstothequestions1and2,butfallshortonthequestions3and4.Prioritiesforfurtherresearchare
indicated.
AnearlierversionofthispaperwaspublishedasEHEROwhitepaper2011/1entitledEvidencebasedpursuitof
happiness.
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AboutthisArticle
Title
InformedPursuitofHappiness:Whatweshouldknow,doknowandcangettoknow
Journal
JournalofHappinessStudies
DOI
10.1007/s1090201495601
PrintISSN
13894978
OnlineISSN
15737780
Publisher
SpringerNetherlands
AdditionalLinks
RegisterforJournalUpdates
EditorialBoard
AboutThisJournal
ManuscriptSubmission
Topics
QualityofLifeResearch
PersonalityandSocialPsychology
Economics/ManagementScience,general
QualityofLifeResearch
Philosophy
PositivePsychology
Keywords
Happiness
Lifesatisfaction
Subjectivewellbeing
Researchsynthesis
Appliedutilitarianism
Stateoftheart

IndustrySectors
Electronics
IT&Software
Telecommunications
Authors
RuutVeenhoven(1)(2)
AuthorAffiliations
1.ErasmusHappinessEconomicsResearchOrganization,ErasmusUniversityRotterdam,
Rotterdam,TheNetherlands
2.OpentiaResearchGroup,NorthWestUniversity,Vanderbijlpark,SouthAfrica

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