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Positive Law and Policy

Peter H. Huang and Jeremy A. Blumenthal

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, or the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our teaching; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968 [ Kennedy, 1968/1993 ]) Positive law and policy applies insights from positive psychology to design legal rules and public programs that foster a good life. Data measuring people's happiness can inform policy evaluation in diverse arenas. Jury participation and direct participatory democracy improve life satisfaction. Positive psychology has novel implications for paternalism. Positive law and policy applies insights from positive psychology to design legal rules and institutional policy. Happiness-based measures offer nonmonetary metrics for evaluating policy in financial and securities regulation (Huang, 2005). It would be helpful to policy-makers to quantitatively assess how financial policies impact not only people's happiness, but also investors' confidence and moods. Both investor confidence or trust in financial markets and investors' moods, such as financial anxiety ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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