"Happiness Economics" (hedonics) made frontpage news recently due to a speech by Ben Bernanke to a conference of economists and statisticians. Bernanke first raised the topic in a commencement address at the University of South Carolina, in which he noted the upper limit on the relationship between wealth and satisfaction: after a certain point, added wealth does not translate into thriving.
"The Federal Reserve chairman said Monday that gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic progress as determining whether inflation is low or unemployment high. Economics isn’t just about money and material benefits, Bernanke said. It is also about understanding and promoting “the enhancement of well-being.” In his remarks Monday, Bernanke turned to the more practical — and difficult — task of measuring a subjective emotion. So far, most efforts have involved surveys in which people are asked about whether they are happy and what contributes to their happiness. Those surveys have found some consistent answers: physical and mental health, the strength of family and community ties, a sense of control over one’s life, and opportunities for leisure activity.The Kingdom of Bhutan has been tracking happiness for four decades. The tiny Himalayan nation Configurestopped tracking gross national product in 1972 and instead switched to measuring Gross National Happiness. Bernanke on Monday sketched out a few other questions he would like to know: How secure do Americans feel in their jobs? How confident are Americans in their future job prospects? How prepared are families for financial shocks? These indicators “could be useful in measuring economic progress or setbacks as well as in explaining economic decision-making,” Bernanke said."
EmerAgency consulting approaches "hedonics" (as "boundary object") from the side of Arts & Letters (the H'MMM disciplines), with a shared point of departure in the works of Amartya Sen.