SourceJournal of Happiness Studies
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The level of happiness of an individual who accepts the consequences of authoritative policy decisions is a clearly different concept from the utility that is delivered to the same individual by these policies and it depends on the whole range of elements that compose the political environment. This paper proposes a formal notion of happiness that is neither identical nor detached from the notion of utility. Our analysis focuses on how the introduction of new policies or new decision rules in the awareness of the society might influence the individual and the social level of happiness and, thereafter, the optimal policy choices of an ideology oriented authority. The main result indicates that a change in the policy (or decision rule) awareness on behalf of the society might lead to a direct alteration of the authority's implemented policy. That is, if the society becomes aware of a "better" policy (in social terms) than the one implemented today, then the authority might need to implement something "better" for the citizens, even if this "better" policy assigns a lower utility level to the authority. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.