Scitovsky and the Income-Happiness Paradox

University of Cassino, Italy, Department of Economic Sciences, Working Paper No. 7/2011

23 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2011

See all articles by Maurizio Pugno

Maurizio Pugno

University of Cassino - Department of Economics and Law

Date Written: December 16, 2011

Abstract

The recent debate on happiness in economics has revived interest in Scitovsky's 1976 book The Joyless Economy, which aims at explaining the income-happiness paradox, i.e. 'why [American] unprecedented and fast-growing prosperity had left its beneficiaries unsatisfied.' A dynamic economic model will distil Scitovsky's proposal, which has not yet been integrated into conventional economics. It will show that people's dissatisfaction may be due to their excess of demand for `comfort', which requires consumption goods, and to their lack in pursuing `creative activities', which instead essentially require leisure and a skill, called `leisure skill', that people have failed to develop. Since comfort includes comparing consumption with that of others, Scitovsky also strengthened the conventional solution of the paradox.

Keywords: Scitovsky, income-happiness paradox, comfort, creative activities, leisure skill

JEL Classification: A12, D60, J24, Z10

Suggested Citation

Pugno, Maurizio, Scitovsky and the Income-Happiness Paradox (December 16, 2011). University of Cassino, Italy, Department of Economic Sciences, Working Paper No. 7/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1973488

Maurizio Pugno (Contact Author)

University of Cassino - Department of Economics and Law ( email )

Campus Folcara
Cassino, Frosinone 03034
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://mauriziopugno.com/en/

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