Handbook on the Economics of Happiness
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Handbook on the Economics of Happiness

Edited by Luigino Bruni and Pier Luigi Porta

This book is a welcome consolidation and extension of the recent expanding debates on happiness and economics. Happiness and economics, as a new field for research, is now of pivotal interest particularly to welfare economists and psychologists. This Handbook provides an unprecedented forum for discussion of the economic issues relating to happiness. It reviews the more recent literature and offers the interested reader an insight into the vast scope of the field in terms of the theory, its applications and also experimental design. The Handbook also gives substantial indications as to the future direction of research in the field, with particular regard to policy applications and developing an economics of interpersonal relations which includes reciprocity and social interaction theory.
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Chapter 9: Enjoyment of Life, the Structure of Time and Economic Dynamics

Mario Cogoy


Mario Cogoy 1. Introduction: happiness and enjoyment This chapter will examine enjoyment of life1 as a contribution to happiness. Enjoyment and happiness are difficult goals to attain, and require a considerable amount of effort. Although enjoyment and happiness are closely related, there are also important differences between the two. Enjoyment is firmly rooted in the process of action: an activity can be enjoyed while it is taking place and enjoyment will fade away when the activity is coming to an end. Enjoyment is therefore intimately related to, and inseparable from, time. It is also unstable by nature, since it can easily turn into its opposite at the slightest disturbance. Happiness is more robust and more comprehensive than enjoyment and reflects a general feeling of a person about the overall quality of his/her life. Happiness is a less action-orientated and a more self-reflexive state of the mind. It summarizes past experience in a non-trivial way and for this reason it may also be plausibly argued that a person is unlikely to be happy if he/she has not experienced sadness and depression in previous periods of his/her life. Although happiness and enjoyment are different things, I shall adopt an activity-orientated view of happiness in this chapter. A ‘good life’ is an active life and enjoyment in action is therefore one of the main constituent materials out of which happiness is made. All kinds of activities require time, and therefore enjoyment also requires time, since no pleasure...

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