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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Ethics and Political Philosophy

Social welfare

Publication Year

Articles 1 - 3 of 3

Full-Text Articles in Law

Happiness Surveys And Public Policy: What’S The Use?, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2013

Happiness Surveys And Public Policy: What’S The Use?, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article provides a comprehensive, critical overview of proposals to use happiness surveys for steering public policy. Happiness or “subjective well-being” surveys ask individuals to rate their present happiness, life-satisfaction, affective state, etc. A massive literature now engages in such surveys or correlates survey responses with individual attributes. And, increasingly, scholars argue for the policy relevance of happiness data: in particular, as a basis for calculating aggregates such as “gross national happiness,” or for calculating monetary equivalents for non-market goods based on coefficients in a happiness equation.

But is individual well-being equivalent to happiness? The happiness literature tends to blur ...


Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall Aug 2011

Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article shows that extant rights-based theories of accident law contain a gaping hole. They inadequately address the following question: What justifies using community standards to assign accident costs in tort law?

In the United States, the jury determines negligence for accidental harm by asking whether the defendant met the objective reasonable person standard. However, what determines the content of the reasonable person standard is enigmatic. Some tort theorists say that the content is filled out by juries using cost benefit analysis while others say that juries apply community norms and conventions. I demonstrate that what is missing from this ...


Social Welfare, Human Dignity, And The Puzzle Of What We Owe Each Other, Amy L. Wax Dec 2003

Social Welfare, Human Dignity, And The Puzzle Of What We Owe Each Other, Amy L. Wax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Proponents of work-based welfare reform claim that moving the poor from welfare to work will advance the goals of economic self-reliance and independence. Reform opponents attack these objectives as ideologically motivated and conceptually incoherent. Drawing on perspectives developed by luck egalitarians and feminist theorists, these critics disparage conventional notions of economic desert, find fault with market measures of value, debunk ideals of autonomy, and emphasize the pervasiveness of interdependence and unearned benefits within free market societies. These arguments pose an important challenge to justifications usually advanced for work-based welfare reform. Reform proponents must concede that no member of society can ...