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Subjective Well-Being, Politics and Political Economy

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  • Bruno S. Frey

Abstract

Happiness research has significantly extended our knowledge about the factors determining individual well-being. Several prominent scholars concluded that governments should engage in maximizing happiness. This approach is based on a technocratic notion that politicians are omniscient benevolent dictators.In contrast, the constitutional approach considers individuals as citizens who, behind the veil of ignorance, choose political rules producing the best possible outcome. Citizens are aware of the Manipulation Principle stating that government tends to distort official happiness indicators in its favour. Citizens therefore demand extensive democratic participation rights allowing them to pursue the kind of happiness they desire.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey, 2011. "Subjective Well-Being, Politics and Political Economy," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 147(IV), pages 397-415, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2011-iv-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness and public choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 557-573, September.
    2. Bruno Frey, 2011. "Tullock challenges: happiness, revolutions, and democracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 269-281, September.
    3. Hendrik Wolff & Howard Chong & Maximilian Auffhammer, 2011. "Classification, Detection and Consequences of Data Error: Evidence from the Human Development Index," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 843-870, June.
    4. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Happiness Research: State and Prospects," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 207-228.
    5. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Frey & Lasse Steiner, 2012. "Glücksforschung: Eine empirische Analyse," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer;Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft - German Statistical Society, vol. 6(1), pages 9-25, December.
    2. Bruno S. Frey, 2012. "Happiness and Public Policies: Fundamental Issues," CREMA Working Paper Series 2012-16, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; well-being; economic policy; manipulation; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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