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HappinessA Revolution in Economics$
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Bruno S. Frey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262062770

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262062770.001.0001

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Happiness Policies

Happiness Policies

(p.151) 13 Happiness Policies

Bruno S. Frey

The MIT Press

This chapter considers the advice offered in the literature based on happiness research in economic policy, from changing preferences to increasing leisure time and raising inflation to reduce unemployment. It discusses the argument that the government should maximize a National Happiness Indicator and that it should increase taxes to reduce positional externalities. It also looks at the “hedonic paradox,” whereby the singular pursuit of happiness makes it more distant and pursuing something else may inadvertently bring happiness closer. In addition, the chapter describes the emergence of “Positive Psychology,” a movement founded by Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and other respected scholars. The goal of Positive Psychology is to develop psychological research about valued subjective experiences such as well-being, hope, contentment, optimism, and the experience of flow.

Keywords:   happiness, economic policy, preferences, leisure time, inflation, unemployment, National Happiness Indicator, positional externalities, hedonic paradox, Positive Psychology

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