The modern approach to the economics of happiness can be reconduced to the impressive work known as the ‘Easterlin paradox’. At the beginning of the seventies the economist Richard Easterlin observed that, even though within each country higher incomes were associated with higher levels of happiness, in a country over time average levels of happiness do not increase as the average income increases. In other words, the very rich are happier than the very poor, but as the country gets richer happiness remains almost constant. The evidence was first proposed in his original work for the US during the period 1946–70 (Easterlin 1974) and then during the period 1972 to 2002 (Easterlin 2005) when the gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States almost doubled while happiness remained constant. In a more recent paper (Easterlin 2015) the author confirmed the validity of the paradox using US data in the period 1972–2014. This evidence suggests that, beyond a certain income level required to meet basic needs, the so-called subsistence level, additional income doesn’t lead to additional happiness. Individual wellbeing is made of a broader set of factors (health, relations, life sense), other than pure income, which need to be accounted for in order to define a worthwhile life. Indeed, it is worth remarking that, in a modern sense, the economics of happiness can no longer be confined to the evaluation of subjective or psychological wellbeing, but also has to encompass the whole intellectual and political movement known as going beyond GDP and its implications in terms of the measurement and analysis of quality of life (QoL).
Luigino Bruni, Bruni De Rosa and Alessandra Smerilli
Edited by Luigino Bruni, Alessandra Smerilli and Dalila De Rosa
Exploring the modern approach to the economics of happiness, which came about with the Easterlin Paradox, this book analyses and assesses the idea that as a country gets richer the happiness of its citizens remains the same. The book moves through three distinct pillars of study in the field: first analysing the historical and philosophical foundations of the debate; then the methodological and measurements issues and their political implications; and finally empirical applications and discussion about what determines a happy life.
A Multidisciplinary Approach
Debate on the desirability, feasibility and implementation of a Citizen’s Basic Income – an unconditional, nonwithdrawable and regular income for every individual – is increasingly widespread among academics, policymakers, and the general public. There are now numerous introductory books on the subject, and others on particular aspects of it. This book provides something new: It studies the Citizen’s Basic Income proposal from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives: the economics of Citizen’s Basic Income, the sociology of Citizen’s Basic Income, the politics of Citizen’s Basic Income, and so on. Each chapter discusses the academic discipline, and relevant aspects of the debate, and asks how the discipline enhances our understanding, and how the Citizen’s Basic Income debate might contribute to the academic discipline.
Towards Growth, Wellbeing and Freedom
This timely book offers a nuanced critique of the nudge narrative, and demonstrates why and how ethical behaviour can have significant positive economic and wellbeing outcomes. Morris Altman models a complex alternative to the expectations of ethical behaviour and shows how this behaviour can be consistent with competitive market economies, contrary to what conventional economic theory suggests.
Todd A. Knoop
Bigger Pies and Just Deserts
Todd A. Knoop
In Understanding Economic Inequality, the author brings an economist’s perspective informed by new, groundbreaking research on inequality from philosophy, sociology, psychology, and political science and presents it in a form that it is accessible to those who want to understand our world, our society, our politics, our paychecks, and our neighbors’ paychecks better.
Viktor J. Vanberg
This important research review discusses some of the most celebrated and classical literature in the field of choice and economic welfare. It analyses material exploring how economics as a scientific enterprise may inform political decision-making. A premise that is explored paradigmatically through different interpretations including utility-individualism in the context of welfare economics, preference-individualism in social choice theory, and choice-individualism in constitutional economics. The review covers the subject’s founding literature as well as the more contemporary pieces, which have sparked further discussion in the field. This review promises to be valuable to researchers and scholars alike as well as to those gravitating towards this fascinating topic.