This paper considers the role of redistribution in the light of recent research findings on self reported happiness. The analysis and empirical work reported here tries to relate this to a representative actor 'homo realitus' and the 'pursuit of happiness' rather than the traditional 'homo economicus'. Econometrically estimating the determinants of happiness in the European Union (EU) using Eurobarometer data and the construction of an 'Index of Happiness' facilitates policy simulations. Such simulations find that in terms of average happiness there is little advantage to redistributing income within a country, but more from redistributing income between countries. The importance for happiness of relative income, average standard of living, marital status and age are confirmed. The theoretical rationale for redistribution is also examined.
- income redistribution