One study in 1997 estimated the value of all the functions performed by ecosystems at $33 trillion per year — substantially more than the entire world economy. But in most instances, functions such as purification of water and air, nutrient cycling in soil, or the resilience created by biodiversity don't have a clear economic value. A number of firms around the world see opportunity in monetizing those functions.
Economists have begun to use research into happiness to explore questions in economics, policy, and management. Betsey Stevenson of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania surveys the work in this emerging field.