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Subjective Well-Being, Politics and Political Economy

  • Bruno S. Frey

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.

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Article provided by Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES) in its journal Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 147 (2011)
Issue (Month): IV (December)
Pages: 397-415

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Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2011-iv-3
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  4. Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Happiness: A Revolution in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062771, June.
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  9. Barrotta, Pierluigi, 2008. "Why Economists Should Be Unhappy With The Economics Of Happiness," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 145-165, July.
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  19. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
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  22. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  23. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  24. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness and public choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 557-573, September.
  25. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation Of The Prevalence And Predictors Of Teacher Cheating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 843-877, August.
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