Google full text of our books:


Happiness for All?
Unequal Hopes and Lives in Pursuit of the American Dream
Carol Graham

Hardcover | 2017 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691169460
208 pp. | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 | 20 line illus. 12 tables.
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400884971 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Chapter 1[PDF] pdf-icon

How the optimism gap between rich and poor is creating an increasingly divided society

The Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the pursuit of happiness. But is happiness available equally to everyone in America today? How about elsewhere in the world? Carol Graham draws on cutting-edge research linking income inequality with well-being to show how the widening prosperity gap has led to rising inequality in people's beliefs, hopes, and aspirations.

For the United States and other developed countries, the high costs of being poor are most evident not in material deprivation but rather in stress, insecurity, and lack of hope. The result is an optimism gap between rich and poor that, if left unchecked, could lead to an increasingly divided society. Graham reveals how people who do not believe in their own futures are unlikely to invest in them, and how the consequences can range from job instability and poor education to greater mortality rates, failed marriages, and higher rates of incarceration. She describes how the optimism gap is reflected in the very words people use—the wealthy use words that reflect knowledge acquisition and healthy behaviors, while the words of the poor reflect desperation, short-term outlooks, and patchwork solutions. She also explains why the least optimistic people in America are poor whites, not poor blacks or Hispanics.

Happiness for All? highlights the importance of well-being measures in identifying and monitoring trends in life satisfaction and optimism—and misery and despair—and demonstrates how hope and happiness can lead to improved economic outcomes.

Carol Graham is the Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and College Park Professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy. Her books include The Pursuit of Happiness: An Economy of Well-Being and Happiness around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires.


"A persuasive and well-supported study. Highly recommended."--Karen Shook, Times Higher Education


"Carol Graham uses well-being measures to bring new insights to the divisions that are threatening America. Far from dreaming of a better tomorrow, many Americans, especially white Americans, are deeply pessimistic about their future and the futures of their children. This book brings much to think and to worry about."--Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"With Happiness for All?, Carol Graham takes the study of the new inequality one step deeper. She tells what it means from the perspective of those who suffer from it, as she explores, from many different angles, how it affects Americans' sense of well-being, and their place within the American dream. This is a very important book, on the deepest social problem facing the United States today."--George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"In a world where people are turning against governments from across the political spectrum, the search is on to discover the source of this collective angst. Why are the leaders of extremist political parties gaining so much support and why did the UK vote to leave the EU? In this timely and invaluable book, Carol Graham investigates whether inequalities in well-being can explain this profound sense of alienation. We know globalization created many losers but, until now, these effects were measured in terms of income not individuals' well-being. The well-being lens casts a powerful light on the fundamental causes: lack of opportunity caused by poor education and failure to invest in the skills needed in the future."--(Lord) Gus O'Donnell, chairman of Frontier Economics and president of the Institute for Fiscal Studies

More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations ix
List of Tables xi
Preface xiii
1 Introduction: Happiness for All: Living the Dream? 1
2 What Happened to Horatio Alger? U.S. Trends in Inequality and Opportunity in Comparative Perspective 22
3 Who Believes in the American Dream? Public Attitudes about Mobility in the United States and Beyond 42
4 The High Costs of Being Poor in the Land of the Dream: Stress, Insecurity, and Lack of Hope 76
5 Well-Being, Aspirations, and Outcomes: What Do We Know? 120
6 Can We Save the Dream? 136
Appendix 151
References 173
Index 187

Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Hardcover : $29.95 ISBN: 9780691169460

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Hardcover  £24.95 ISBN: 9780691169460

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 4/20/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Popular Science
    More Choices