IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wiw/wus009/5671.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Human Needs and the Measurement of Welfare

Author

Listed:
  • Fellner, Wolfgang

    ()

  • Goehmann, Benedikt

Abstract

Adam Smith considered consumption the sole end and purpose of all production. Concerning the measurement of welfare, this requires a sound understanding of the connection between consumption and welfare. The consumerist conceptualization of this connection implies that the amount of consumption equals welfare and the level of production can be an indicator for welfare. The limits and problems of production measures are widely accepted. Yet, indicators like GDP remain the focus of mainstream economic theory and policy. We trace the origin of this lock-in back to the economic model of behaviour and the concept of agency in mainstream economics. The suggested alternative stems from literature about human needs in heterodox economics and psychology. This literature incorporates the relevance of social aspects and cultural change for welfare. It turns out that consumerism can be a threat to well-being and welfare rather than a requirement for it.

Suggested Citation

  • Fellner, Wolfgang & Goehmann, Benedikt, 2017. "Human Needs and the Measurement of Welfare," SRE-Discussion Papers 5671, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wus009:5671
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://epub.wu.ac.at/5671/
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Becker, Gary S., 1978. "The Economic Approach to Human Behavior," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226041124, June.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Dimensions of Human Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 181-205, February.
    4. Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1970. "Economics as a System of Belief," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 469-478, May.
    5. Daniel John Zizzo, 2003. "Empirical evidence on interdependent preferences: nature or nurture?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(6), pages 867-880, November.
    6. Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
    7. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "A Psychological Perspective on Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 162-168, May.
    8. Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1991. "Rational Addiction and the Effect of Price on Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 237-241, May.
    9. D. Wade Hands, 2010. "Economics, psychology and the history of consumer choice theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(4), pages 633-648.
    10. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    11. Richard M. Ryan & Veronika Huta & Edward Deci, 2008. "Living well: a self-determination theory perspective on eudaimonia," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 139-170, January.
    12. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    13. Ian Gough, 2015. "Climate change and sustainable welfare: the centrality of human needs," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(5), pages 1191-1214.
    14. Peter E. Earl, 2005. "Economics and psychology in the twenty-first century," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(6), pages 909-926, November.
    15. repec:elg:eechap:15612_25 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic psychology; capabilities approach; self-determination theory; consumerism; structure vs. agency;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wus009:5671. 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: (WU Library). General contact details of provider: http://epub.wu.ac.at .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.