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Recent Developments in the Economics of Happiness: A Selective Overview

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  • Stutzer, Alois

    () (University of Basel)

  • Frey, Bruno S.

    () (University of Zurich)

Abstract

What makes people happy in life? This is a crucial question that has the potential to shake up economics. In recent years, the dissatisfaction with the understanding of welfare in economics together with the new opportunities to empirically study people's subjective wellbeing have spurred impressive and stimulating new research in the often called dismal science. The economics of happiness has emerged as one of the most thriving areas in current economic research. This introductory chapter refers to important contributions to the economics of happiness that characterize the recent developments in the area. First, we refer to reviews of the literature, the measurement and the relationship of happiness research to welfare economics. Second, we emphasize four factors from the large literature on the determinants of happiness in economics, i.e. income, employment, social capital and health. In fact, the main body of research in this new area is on the preconditions or covariates of high individual well-being. Third, important studies applying the so-called Life Satisfaction Approach as an alternative valuation approach are discussed. Fourth, we point to contributions that elaborate on the understanding of utility in terms of people's adaptation to circumstances and their difficulties in predicting future utility. Fifth, we provide references to the controversial question regarding the policy consequences of this new development.

Suggested Citation

  • Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2012. "Recent Developments in the Economics of Happiness: A Selective Overview," IZA Discussion Papers 7078, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7078
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    Cited by:

    1. Maurizio Pugno, 2015. "Capability and Happiness: A Suggested Integration From a Dynamic Perspective," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(6), pages 1383-1399, December.
    2. Bartolini, Stefano & Sarracino, Francesco, 2014. "Happy for how long? How social capital and economic growth relate to happiness over time," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 242-256.
    3. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 456-480, August.
    4. Charles Henri DiMaria & Chiara Peroni & Francesco Sarracino, 2014. "Happiness matters: the role of well-being in productivity," Department of Economics University of Siena 699, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    5. Coupe, Tom & Obrizan, Maksym, 2016. "The impact of war on happiness: The case of Ukraine," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 228-242.
    6. Piper, Alan T., 2015. "Sliding down the U-shape? A dynamic panel investigation of the age-well-being relationship, focusing on young adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 54-61.
    7. George A. Gonzalez, 2016. "Transforming Energy: Solving Climate Change with Technology Policy . New York : Cambridge University Press . 360 pages. ISBN 9781107614970, $29.99 paperback. Anthony Patt , 2015 ," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 33(1), pages 111-113, January.
    8. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Fleming, Christopher M. & Chan, Andrew Yiu-Chung, 2014. "Estimating the cost of air pollution in South East Queensland: An application of the life satisfaction non-market valuation approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 172-181.
    9. Jantsch, Antje & Wunder, Christoph & Hirschauer, Norbert, 2016. "Lebensqualität In Deutschland – Ein Vergleich Von Ländlichen Und Städtischen Regionen," 56th Annual Conference, Bonn, Germany, September 28-30, 2016 244798, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    10. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Chan, Andrew Yiu-Chung & Fleming, Christopher M., 2013. "Estimating the cost of air pollution in South East Queensland: An application of the life satisfaction non-market valuation approach," 2013 Conference (57th), February 5-8, 2013, Sydney, Australia 152133, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    11. repec:ces:ifodic:v:13:y:2015:i:1:p:19160201 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Fleming, Christopher M., 2014. "The causal effect of income on life satisfaction and the implications for valuing non-market goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 131-134.
    13. Marie Connolly & Catherine Haeck, 2015. "Are Childcare Subsidies Good for Parental Well-being? Empirical Evidence from Three Countries," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 09-15, 04.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life Satisfaction Approach; individual welfare; happiness; subjective well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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