The books and articles listed below will help you to deepen your understanding of what happiness is, how to measure it, what affects it, and what can be done to improve it.
Philosophy of well-being
Philosophers use ‘well-being’ to refer to what makes your life go well for you, and ‘happiness’ to refer to a positive psychological state. Well-being and happiness need not be the same thing, hence the common (but mistaken) expression ‘there’s more to life than happiness’.
Two entries from the Stanford Encyclopedia for Philosophy.
A book-length document, “these guidelines represent the first attempt to provide international recommendations on collecting, publishing, and analysing subjective well-being data”:
Two general discussions of the measures:
Distinguishing between the “remembering self” and the “experiencing self”:
A sceptical take on using happiness measures:
A paper suggesting people make global comparison, suggesting people might be using roughly the same criteria to judge their lives:
A paper comparing Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) to life satisfaction scores:
An advanced paper on cardinality:
An advanced paper on how much difference it makes if you interpret life satisfaction scores as ordinal vs cardinal:
Determinants of life satisfaction
A paper on the fact we’re not very good at predicting how we or others will feel:
The Easterlin Paradox
The Easterlin Paradox is the finding that raising GDP doesn’t raise aggregate life satisfaction over the long-term.
Poverty, income, and life satisfaction
A study on cash transfers that suggests adaptation and comparison effects:
Another study on cash transfers:
A paper suggesting that making people wealthier didn’t decrease depressive symptoms:
A paper discussing the fact that China became less satisfied despite economic progress:
The Global Happiness Policy Reports are the state of the art on happiness research applied to policy.
The World Happiness Reports include a global survey and analysis of the state of the world’s happiness.