What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?

39 Pages Posted: 31 May 2001

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: June 2001

Abstract

Over the past few years, there has been a steadily increasing interest on the part of economists in happiness research. We argue that reported subjective well-being is a satisfactory empirical approximation to individual utility and that happiness research is able to contribute important insights for economics. We report how the economic variables income, unemployment and inflation affect happiness as well as how institutional factors, in particular the type of democracy and the extent of government decentralization, systematically influence how satisfied individuals are with their life. We discuss some of the consequences for economic policy and for economic theory.

Keywords: Economics, Economic Welfare, Subjective Well-Being, Utility

JEL Classification: A10, D60, I31

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Stutzer, Alois, What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research? (June 2001). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 503; Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 80. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=271816

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
Switzerland
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002
Switzerland

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
Switzerland
0041 61 267 3361 (Phone)
0041 61 267 3340 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wwz.unibas.ch/stutzer/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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