Happiness Research: State and Prospects

IEW Working Paper No. 190

27 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2004

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: June 2004


This paper intends to provide an evaluation of where the economic research on happiness stands and in which interesting directions it might develop. First, the current state of the research on happiness in economics is briefly discussed. We emphasize the potential of happiness research in testing competing theories of individual behavior. Second, the crucial issue of causality is taken up illustrating it for a particular case, namely whether marriage makes people happy or whether happy people get married. Third, happiness research is taken up as a new approach to measuring utility in the context of cost-benefit analysis.

Keywords: Causality, cost-benefit analysis, happiness research, life satisfaction approach

JEL Classification: D61, H41, I31, J12

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Stutzer, Alois, Happiness Research: State and Prospects (June 2004). IEW Working Paper No. 190, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=559427 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.559427

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

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

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel ( email )

Faculty of Business and Economics
Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
0041 61 207 3361 (Phone)

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

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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