Ruut Veenhoven, Erasmus University Rotterdam and University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
Published in French in: Revue Québécoise de Psychologie, 1997, vol 18, pp 29-74
One of the goals of social policy is to create greater happiness for a greater number. Realization of this ambition requires understanding of happiness. The following questions must be answered: 1) What is happiness precisely? 2) Can happiness be measured? 3) How happy are people presently? 4) What causes us to be happy or unhappy? 5) Can happiness be raised lastingly? Through the ages philosophers have toiled with these questions. Since the 1960's they are subject of empirical research. This paper takes stock of the progress in answering these questions.