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A Case For Happiness, Cardinalism and Interpersonal Comparability

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-06-08, 01:13 authored by Ng, Yew-Kwang
Despite economists' preference for the more objective concepts like preference, more emphasis should be given to the more subjective concepts like happiness, as happiness is our ultimate objective and as more money does not buy more happiness much, despite the rate race for material growth due to relative-income effects. Confinement to the more objective concepts, especially reinforced by economists' self denial of cardinal utility and interpersonal comparison, makes economics less relevant and even misleading. Utility is cardinally measurable and interpersonally comparable if appropriate methods are used. However, for many purposes, the willingness to pay may be used to measure the intensity of preference and used in an interpersonally acceptable sense.


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Department of Economics.

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