Happiness And The Law

Hardcover | December 29, 2014

byJohn Bronsteen, Christopher Buccafusco, Jonathan S. Masur

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Happiness and the law. At first glance, these two concepts seem to have little to do with each other. To some, they may even seem diametrically opposed. Yet one of the things the law strives for is to improve people’s quality of life. To do this, it must first predict what will make people happy. Yet happiness research shows that, time and time again, people err in predicting what will make them happy, overestimating the import of money and mistaking the circumstances to which they can and cannot adapt.  

Drawing on new research in psychology, neuroscience, and economics, the authors of Happiness and the Law assess how the law affects people’s quality of life—and how it can do so in a better way. Taking readers through some of the common questions about and objections to the use of happiness research in law and policy, they consider two areas in depth: criminal punishment and civil lawsuits. More broadly, the book proposes a comprehensive approach to assessing human welfare—well-being analysis—that is a valuable alternative to the strictly economically based cost-benefit analyses currently dominating how we evaluate public policy. The study of happiness is the next step in the evolution from traditional economic analysis of the law to a behavioral approach. Happiness and the Law will serve as the definitive, yet accessible, guide to understanding this new paradigm.

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Happiness and the law. At first glance, these two concepts seem to have little to do with each other. To some, they may even seem diametrically opposed. Yet one of the things the law strives for is to improve people’s quality of life. To do this, it must first predict what will make people happy. Yet happiness research shows that, time...

John Bronsteen is professor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Christopher Buccafusco is associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent School of Law, where he is also codirector of the Center for Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property. Jonathan S. Masur is professor and deputy dean at the U...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:December 29, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226075494

ISBN - 13:9780226075495

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: What Happiness Has to Do with the Law

PART I.    Analyzing Laws’ Effects on Well-Being
CHAPTER 1.    Measuring Happiness
CHAPTER 2.    Well-Being Analysis
CHAPTER 3.    Well-Being Analysis vs. Cost-Benefit Analysis

PART II.    Viewing Two Core Areas of the Law through the Lens of Hedonics
CHAPTER 4.    Happiness and Punishment
CHAPTER 5.    Adaptation, Affective Forecasting, and Civil Litigation

PART III.    Well-Being
CHAPTER 6    Some Problems with Preference Theories and Objective Theories
CHAPTER 7    A Hedonic Theory of Well-Being
CHAPTER 8    Addressing Objections to the Hedonic Theory

Conclusion: The Future of Happiness and the Law

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Bronsteen, Buccafusco, and Masur bring together a number of leading thinkers to explore the question of what makes up happiness—and what factors can be demonstrated to increase or decrease it.”