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Fellow (1 September 2009 - 30 June 2010)
While at NIAS I completed a book manuscript tentatively entitled “The Political Economy of Human Happiness”. The study examines the impact of the choices of voters through the governments they elect; and the impact of those governments through the public policy regimes they create on the extent to which citizens lead lives that they themselves view as positive and rewarding.
I focus on what has been the fundamental axis of political conflict since the end of feudalism: that of the extent and degree of governmental “"intrusion"” into the market economy. Simply stated, is the production and distribution of human well-being best left to a self-regulating market, unfettered by democratic aspirations; or should we instead ‘tame’ the market by a conscious attempt to utilise the power of the state to infuse the cold indifference of efficient market institutions with principles of equity and justice? Using data on both the universe of industrial democracies, and a case study of the 50 American States, I find clear and unequivocal evidence that it is an activist government devoted to using the market for human betterment that best promotes human happiness, rather than other cultural, social, and economic factors.
While at NIAS, I also completed several journal articles on these themes, including for the Journal of Politics (2010) and Social Indicators Research (2009).
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