Can an evidential account justify relying on preferences for well-being policy?

Journal of Economic Methodology 22 (3):280-291 (2015)
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Policy-makers sometimes aim to improve well-being as a policy goal, but to do this they need some way to measure well-being. Instead of relying on potentially problematic theories of well-being to justify their choice of well-being measure, Daniel Hausman proposes that policy-makers can sometimes rely on preference-based measures as evidence for well-being. I claim that Hausman’s evidential account does not justify the use of any one measure more than it justifies the use of any other measure. This leaves us at a loss as to which policy should be chosen in the non-trivial cases for which there is substantial disagreement between the different measures in their assessment of policy.

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Gil Hersch
Virginia Tech

Citations of this work

Well-Being Coherentism.Gil Hersch - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (4):1045-1065.
No Theory-Free Lunches in Well-Being Policy.Gil Hersch - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):43-64.
The usefulness of well-being temporalism.Gil Hersch - forthcoming - Journal of Economic Methodology:1-15.
Happiness.Dan Haybron - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Commodities and Capabilities.Amartya Sen - 1985 - Oxford University Press India.
Ethics Out of Economics.John Broome - 1999 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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