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Maximising Happiness?

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Alois Stutzer

The measurement of individual happiness challenges the notion that revealed preferences only reliably and empirically reflect individual utility. Reported subjective well-being is a broader concept than traditional decision utility; it also includes concepts like experience and procedural utility. Micro- and macroeconometric happiness functions offer new insights on determinants of life satisfaction. However, one should not leap to the conclusion that happiness should be maximized, as was suggested for social welfare function maximization. In contrast, happiness research strengthens the validity of an institutional approach, such as reflected in the theory of democratic economic policy. Copyright Verein fü Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2000.

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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal German Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 1 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 145-167

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Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:1:y:2000:i:2:p:145-167
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