Happiness for All?


Happiness for All?

Carol Graham
Release Date: March 28, 2017

Happiness for All?, written by Carol Graham, highlights the importance of well-being measures in identifying and monitoring trends in life satisfaction and optimism—and misery and despair—and demonstrates how hope and happiness can lead to improved economic outcomes.


Praise for Happiness for All?

In our judgment, Happiness for All? is a valuable contribution to the modern social science literature. Dr. Graham ends her interesting book with the following sentence: “My personal hope is that the metrics that I have used to assess the state of the American Dream can play a role in restoring the pursuit of happiness for all.” We agree with her. If the aim of social science is to understand the lives of human beings, it will be hard to do that without the systematic study of human beings’ feelings.

-David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, Journal of Economic Literature

Carol Graham uses well-being measures to bring new insights to the divisions that are threatening America. Far from dreaming of a better tomorrow, many Americans, especially white Americans, are deeply pessimistic about their future and the futures of their children. This book brings much to think and to worry about.

-Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate in Economics

With Happiness for All?, Carol Graham takes the study of the new inequality one step deeper. She tells what it means from the perspective of those who suffer from it, as she explores, from many different angles, how it affects Americans’ sense of well-being, and their place within the American dream. This is a very important book, on the deepest social problem facing the United States today.

-George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics

In a world where people are turning against governments from across the political spectrum, the search is on to discover the source of this collective angst. Why are the leaders of extremist political parties gaining so much support and why did the UK vote to leave the EU? In this timely and invaluable book, Carol Graham investigates whether inequalities in well-being can explain this profound sense of alienation. We know globalization created many losers but, until now, these effects were measured in terms of income not individuals’ well-being. The well-being lens casts a powerful light on the fundamental causes: lack of opportunity caused by poor education and failure to invest in the skills needed in the future.

-(Lord) Gus O’Donnell, chairman of Frontier Economics and president of the Institute for Fiscal Studies

Compelling. Happiness for All? is a significant work of scholarship by one of today’s leading scholars in the field. Graham’s book will inform our debates on inequality, and is extremely timely and important.

-Martin Binder, Bard College Berlin

Reviews and related articles

Happiness for All?, by Carol Graham, The Financial Times

America: The Forgotten Poor, The New York Review of Books

Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham’s Happiness for All?, Journal of Economic Literature

Not only are Americans becoming less happy — we’re experiencing more pain too, The Washington Post

The worst thing poor whites are inheriting could be a lack of hope, The Washington Post

Lack of hope in America: The high costs of being poor in a rich land, Vox EU

Unequal hopes and lives in the US, Brookings report