One of our plans when we established Behavioural Public Policy was to organize a special issue of the journal on the topic of whether – and if so, how – happiness research should inform public policy. We, as editors, have conflicting views on the normative validity of this proposition, but we all felt that the topic ought to be explored within the journal, not least because of the increased prominence of happiness research in the public policy discourse over the last two decades. The special issue that you are now reading is the manifestation of our intention in this regard.
The issue opens with a relatively long article written by Paul Frijters, Andrew E. Clark, Christian Krekel and Richard Layard – an article that amounts to a call for action – on developing a happiness-informed public policy approach. A number of short reflections are then presented on this main article, written by specialists with varied disciplinary backgrounds. The reflections are ordered such that they become increasingly critical of the Frijters et al. approach as the issue progresses, and at the end Frijters et al. provide a short response to these reflections.
We of course do not know whether the content of the issue will make you happy, but we are unanimous in the hope that it will hold your interest.