What is the final goal of public policy? Jeremy Bentham (1789) would say: greater happiness for a greater number. He thought of happiness as subjective enjoyment of life; in his words as “the sum of pleasures and pains”. In his time the happiness of the great number could not be measured and it was therefore difficult to asses how happiness can be furthered and whether attempts to do so were successful or not. Hence happiness remained a subject of philosophical speculation. Today we can do better. Social scientists have found that happiness can be measured using questions about life-satisfaction and have applied such questions in large scale surveys of the general population.

Sociale verandering, sociale processen en sociale conflicten, Sociologie, Sociology
Authors version. Published in: Ehalt, H.C., Norder, G., Reinprecht, C. & Weiss, H. (Hrgs) Lebensqualiät in modernen Gesellschaften, Festschrift für Wolfgang Schulz, Verlag Peter Lang, 2011, Frankfurt am Main, ISBN 978-3-631-60440-3, pp. 27-34
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Veenhoven, R. (2011). Greater happiness for a greater number: Is that possible in Austria?. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/37525