Regarding Happiness Research

I imagine Will Wilkinson has already beaten me to this, but I had an amusing thought about happiness research. Apparently it suggests that average self-reported happiness does not increase with per-capita GDP beyond a level already exceeded by most industrialized nations. Proponents of expanding the welfare state argue that this means that we should favor redistributionist policies even at the expense of future economic growth.

However, happiness research also suggests that people suffer little to no permanent reduction in happiness following accidents that leave them permanently crippled.

Is it really wise to base our economic policies on research that has failed to establish conclusively that being able to walk is preferable to the alternative?

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