Friday, April 21, 2006

Congestion pricing and happiness

I am in Lisbon, appreciating Fado and reading about happiness economics in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. A much wiser blogger would be able to comment on how Fado relates to happiness.

The two papers are "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being" by Daniel Kahneman and Alan B. Krueger and "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics" by Rafael Di Tella and Robert MacCulloch (unable to link at the moment). Knowing very little about the field, the two papers offered me a splending survey.

Kahneman and Kruger cite a happiness rating by "mean net affect". At the top are"intimate relations," "socializing after work," "relaxing." At the bottom are: "evening commute," "working," and "morning commute."

And there are policy implications. "For example, interventions that reduce the amount of time spent commuting alone (such as congestion taxes and carpool subsdidies) could possibly have a beneficial effect on individuals' emotional states." (p. 21).