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Maximising Happiness?

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

The measurement of individual happiness challenges the notion that revealed preferences only reliably and empirically reflect individual utility. Reported subjective well-being is a broader concept than traditional decision utility; it also includes concepts like experience and procedural utility. Micro- and macroeconometric happiness functions offer new insights on determinants of life satisfaction. However, one should not leap to the conclusion that happiness should be maximised, as was suggested for social welfare function maximisation. In contrast, happiness research strengthens the validity of an institutional approach, such as reflected in the theory of democratic economic policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "Maximising Happiness?," IEW - Working Papers 022, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    constitutional economics; happiness; institutions; social welfare function;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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