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The Economics of Happiness

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

Economists have long considered themselves fortunate that micro-economic theory needs only be based on relative utility, as it is widely believed that utility is not measurable in absolute terms. But this view is no longer valid. The measurement of happiness constitutes a good approximation to utility. It is shown that research on happiness provides new evidence on important issues of economic theory and policy. In particular, it is shown how unemployment, income and inflation affect self-reported subjective well-being. The results are partly in line with accepted economics but partly throw doubt on it. Institutions, such as the type of democracy and the extent of political decentralisation, also systematically affect individual happiness.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE in its journal World Economics Journal.

Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 25-41

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Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:90

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Cited by:
  1. Bruno S. Frey, 2011. "Tullock Challenges: happiness, revolutions and democracy," ECON - Working Papers 015, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Andreas Reinstaller, 2013. "An evolutionary view on social innovation and the process of economic change," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 43, WWWforEurope.
  3. John Malcolm Dowling & Yap Chin Fang, 2006. "Homeostasis and Well Being," Working Papers 09-2006, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  4. Alex Coram & Lyle Noakes, 2006. "Relative advantage, queue jumping, and welfare maximizing wealth distribution," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2006-08, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  5. Cheah, Yong Kang & Tang, Chor Foon, 2011. "The role of socio-demographic factors on self-rated happiness: The case of Malaysia," MPRA Paper 29419, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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