The Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence states that our inalienable rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Life and liberty are easy to understand, but that last phrase is less intuitive. How can people have a right to strive for happiness?
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Uniting to Fight Poverty: A TED Talk

How do we solve problems like poverty with so much political polarization?

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Welcome to the Pursuit

To pursue our happiness, to achieve our liberty, and indeed to find fulfillment in our lives, we must start with a moral consensus, a fundamental truth around which we all revolve. Think of an atom. The outer field of electrons is full of chaotic activity. Electrons are rapidly orbiting and moving in a constant buzz. What contains that chaos and gives it structure? The fact that the whole chaotic cloud orbits one central nucleus.

 

Major Life Decisions: How Much Influence Does a Coin Toss Have?

Major Life Decisions: How Much Influence Does a Coin Toss Have?

Steven Levitt of “Freakonomics” fame recently did a great study looking at the influence of a coin toss on people’s likelihood of making certain decisions. His results suggest that people leave a chunk of potential happiness untapped simply by tethering themselves to the status quo.

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Do Presidential Debates Matter? Probably Sooner Than Later

Do Presidential Debates Matter? Probably Sooner Than Later

How much of a difference do these election debates actually make? Do presidential debates matter? Is all the commotion justified? What do the hard data say? I dug into the research. As it turns out, the answer academics have come up with is a go-to favorite among ivory-tower types. Do the debates make a difference? It depends.

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Florida: Study Shows Impact of Marriage on Children’s Graduation Rates

Florida: Study Shows Impact of Marriage on Children’s Graduation Rates

Brad Wilcox at the Institute of Family Studies does some great research, and part of its greatness is that his results force policy makers to confront wisdom that is sometimes hard to hear, but ultimately super helpful in developing action plans.

The latest is a study he did on Florida schools, called Strong Families, Successful Schools, which builds on conclusions reached in a recent MIT study of 1 million Florida school children.

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Official Poverty Rate Declines in 2015. Can Washington Do More?

Official Poverty Rate Declines in 2015. Can Washington Do More?

The official poverty rate dropped from 14.8 percent in 2014 to 13.5 percent in 2015, and both food insecurity and very low food security significantly declined as well. The fact that we are just now seeing progress, as caseloads for major assistance programs decrease, illustrates that a strengthening economy that gets more Americans working is the most essential ingredient for fighting poverty. Strategies from Washington can further push down the poverty level if they’re addressing the right causes of poverty, which they currently don’t.

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15 Years After 9/11. It’s Like Remembering Yesterday

15 Years After 9/11. It’s Like Remembering Yesterday

Do you remember where you were on Sept. 11, 2001, when you heard that the first airplane hit the World Trade Center? You wouldn’t be alone. A Pew Research Center released a poll recently saying 91 percent of Americans recall exactly what they were doing at that moment.

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How Should the On-Demand Economy Protect Workers?

How Should the On-Demand Economy Protect Workers?

Are you a worker in the on-demand economy? Do you pick the hours you want to work, change who you occasionally work for from time to time, and get most of your work through the matching of your services through technological apps and other forms of digital on-demand...

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What's New on The Pursuit of Happiness?

Major Life Decisions: How Much Influence Does a Coin Toss Have?

Steven Levitt, a well-known economist of "Freakonomics" fame, has a new paper on a topic that we can all relate to: How do people make big, pivotal life decisions? And how can we evaluate whether we make good ones? When I stop and think about it, the relative scarcity of a robust literature … Read More

Do Presidential Debates Matter? Probably Sooner Than Later

By most accounts, Monday's first presidential debate brings Americans a strange mixture of joy and despair. On one hand, this interminable campaign is finally entering its homestretch. On the other hand, an evening of hand-to-hand mudslinging will dominate our televisions and our discussions … Read More

Florida: Study Shows Impact of Marriage on Children’s Graduation Rates

Brad Wilcox at the Institute for Family Studies does some great research, and part of its greatness is that his results force policy makers to confront wisdom that is sometimes hard to hear, but ultimately super helpful in developing action plans. The latest is a study he did on Florida … Read More

Why Don’t Families With Housing Vouchers Move to Better School Districts?

If you have a housing voucher that you're allowed to use anywhere, why wouldn't you situate yourself near a good school for your kids? That's the question that a new study dives into after learning that "voucher holders do not, on average, use their vouchers to reach better schools." Housing … Read More

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It is our moral duty to reclaim every American's right to pursue his or her own happiness. Are you in?

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