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Approaches to well-being, use of psychology and paternalism in economics

  • Collewet, Marion
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    This paper discusses three approaches to well-being in economics which use insights from psychology to support their position: Scitovsky's Joyless Economy, happiness economics, and the constitutional approach to happiness in economics. It shows that in the way these approaches make use of psychology, normative choice is involved, and there is room for personal judgement. First, an approach to well-being, as an approach to what is worth pursuing, is necessarily normative. The use of psychological theories to support an approach to well-being relies on a normative step, revealed by the choice of a psychological theory by the economist. Second, personal judgement is often needed to translate the findings of psychology to recommendations for practice. Both things have implications for those theories which define well-being as something different than the fulfillment of individual preferences whatever they are, and therefore yield potential for paternalism. The paternalistic recommendations derived by economists are not based on positive science only, but also rely on personal judgement and normative choice.

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    File URL: http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2014-1
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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/88916/1/775983977.pdf
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    Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2014-1.

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    Date of creation: 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:20141
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    1. Paul Anand & Graham Hunter & Ron Smith, 2005. "Capabilities and Well-Being: Evidence Based on the Sen–Nussbaum Approach to Welfare," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 9-55, October.
    2. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness and public choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 557-573, September.
    3. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2003. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters," CREMA Working Paper Series 2003-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    4. Bianchi, Marina, 2003. "A questioning economist: Tibor Scitovsky's attempt to bring joy into economics," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 391-407, June.
    5. Anand, Paul & van Hees, Martin, 2006. "Capabilities and achievements: An empirical study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 268-284, April.
    6. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur Stone, 2004. "Toward National Well-Being Accounts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 429-434, May.
    7. Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
    8. Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Happiness: A Revolution in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062771, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2012. "The use of happiness research for public policy," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 659-674, April.
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