The Economic Problem of Happiness. Keynes on Happiness and Economics
In their latest book (2008), Bruno Frey and the members of the research group he chairs at the University of Zurich announce that happiness research is leading a revolution in economics. More precisely, the revolutionary character of happiness economics would draw on measurement, on how people value goods and social conditions, as well as on policies. This paper aims to discuss critically this claim and what we identified as five crucial issues of mainstream happiness economics, i.e.: 1. the ambiguous relationship between income and happiness, 2. the “back to Bentham” approach, 3. problems of incommensurability, 4. heterogeneity and multidimensionality, 5. the scope of economics in relation to happiness. In so doing, we attempt to review John Maynard Keynes’s vision about happiness and economics, starting from a revisiting of his essay Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren in the light of his early unpublished writings on ethics as well as of the whole bulk of his writings in economics. We then provide reasons to argue that the rediscovery of Keynes’s legacy in this respect can be of help to point out and examine the most controversial aspects of today’s happiness research.
|Date of creation:||May 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://semeq.unipmn.it/Email:
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mario A. Cedrini, 2008. "Fighting Through Britain. The “Gift Dimension” of Keynes's Quest for a New Global Order," Working Papers 119, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
- Lee E. Ohanian, 2008. "Back to the future with Keynes," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 10-16.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
- Anna Carabelli, 1998. "Keynes on Probability, Uncertainty and Tragic Choices," Cahiers d'Économie Politique, Programme National Persée, vol. 30(1), pages 187-226.
- 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.
- Cedrini Mario, 2006. "Keynes, l'arte, lo stato: il paradiso ritrovato e poi perduto," CESMEP Working Papers 200601, University of Turin.
- Anna Carabelli & Nicolo De Vecchi, 1999. "'Where to draw the line'? Keynes versus Hayek on Knowledge, ethics and economics," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 271-296.
- Jon Wisman, 2003. "The Scope and Promising Future of Social Economics," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(4), pages 425-445.
- D. E. Moggridge, 2005. "Keynes, the Arts, and the State," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 535-555, Fall.
- 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.
- Marchionatti Roberto, 2009.
"J. M. Keynes, thinker of economic complexity,"
CESMEP Working Papers
200902, University of Turin.
- Barry Gordon, 2005. "Aristotle and Hesiod: The economic problem in Greek thought," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(3), pages 395-404.
- Roger Backhouse & Bradley Bateman, 2006. "John Maynard Keynes: Artist, Philosopher, Economist," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 34(2), pages 149-159, June.
- Anna M. Carabelli & Mario A. Cedrini, 2010. "“Veiling The Controversies with Dubious Moral Attitudes”? Creditors and Debtors in Keynes’s Ethics of International Economic Relations," Working Papers 127, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
- Hosseini, Hamid, 2003. "The arrival of behavioral economics: from Michigan, or the Carnegie School in the 1950s and the early 1960s?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 391-409, September.
- Goodwin, Craufurd D., 2000. "Economic Man in the Garden of Eden," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(04), pages 405-432, December.
- Yew-Kwang, Ng, 1997.
"A case for Happiness, Cardinalism, and Interpersonal Comparability,"
Departmental Working Papers
_081, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
- Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1997. "A Case for Happiness, Cardinalism, and Interpersonal Comparability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1848-58, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upo:upopwp:123. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.