Happiness and Economics: How the Economy and Institutions Affect Human Well-Being by Bruno S. FreyHappiness and Economics: How the Economy and Institutions Affect Human Well-Being by Bruno S. Frey

Happiness and Economics: How the Economy and Institutions Affect Human Well-Being

byBruno S. Frey


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Curiously, economists, whose discipline has much to do with human well-being, have shied away from factoring the study of happiness into their work. Happiness, they might say, is an 'unscientific' concept. This is the first book to establish empirically the link between happiness and economics--and between happiness and democracy. Two respected economists, Bruno S. Frey and Alois Stutzer, integrate insights and findings from psychology, where attempts to measure quality of life are well-documented, as well as from sociology and political science. They demonstrate how micro- and macro-economic conditions in the form of income, unemployment, and inflation affect happiness. The research is centered on Switzerland, whose varying degrees of direct democracy from one canton to another, all within a single economy, allow for political effects to be isolated from economic effects.

Not surprisingly, the authors confirm that unemployment and inflation nurture unhappiness. Their most striking revelation, however, is that the more developed the democratic institutions and the degree of local autonomy, the more satisfied people are with their lives. While such factors as rising income increase personal happiness only minimally, institutions that facilitate more individual involvement in politics (such as referendums) have a substantial effect. For countries such as the United States, where disillusionment with politics seems to be on the rise, such findings are especially significant. By applying econometrics to a real-world issue of general concern and yielding surprising results, Happiness and Economics promises to spark healthy debate over a wide range of the social sciences.

Bruno S. Frey is Professor of Economics at the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics in Zurich. He is the author of Economics as a Science of Human Behavior, Not Just for the Money: An Economic Theory of Personal Motivation, The New Democratic Federalism for Europe and Inspiring Economics. Alois Stutzer is a lecturer on the th...
Title:Happiness and Economics: How the Economy and Institutions Affect Human Well-BeingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:232 pagesPublisher:Princeton University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691069980

ISBN - 13:9780691069982

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

PART I: Setting the Stage

CHAPTER 1: Happiness 3

CHAPTER 2: Well-Being and Economics 19

CHAPTER 3: Personality and Socio-Demograohic Influences on happiness 49

PART II: Economic Effects on Happiness

CHAPTER 4: Income 73

CHAPTER 5: Employment 95

CHAPTER 6: Inflation 111

PART III: Political Effects on Happiness

CHAPTER 7: The Current Politico-Economic Process 121

CHAPTER 8: Constitution: Popular Referenda and Federalism 133

CHAPTER 9: Outcome and Process 153

PART IV: Conclusions

CHAPTER 10: Happiness Inspires Economics 171



References 195

Data Sources 215

Index 217

Editorial Reviews

"This is a timely, excellent, insightful, and highly readable book by two authors who have an obvious command of their subject. It should become the standard reference text on the rapidly expanding academic study of happiness. It will appeal not only to a wide range of social scientists but also to a wide public audience outside academia. Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer offer a comprehensive historical account that also reaches to the limits of our current understanding."-Robert MacCulloch, London School of Economics