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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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How Unemployment Affects Happiness

How Unemployment Affects Happiness

(p.45) 4 How Unemployment Affects Happiness

Bruno S. Frey

The MIT Press

An absolute goal of economic policy is full employment, which is associated with prosperity. Unemployment entails costs because it wastes valuable manpower and undermines an economy’s real output. On the basis of these assumptions, there have been attempts to obtain quantitative estimates of the welfare cost of unemployment. However, approaches based on forgone income do not take into account the psychology of having no work. This chapter explores the impact of unemployment on happiness. After reviewing the literature, it considers the effects of psychological costs and social norms on happiness.

Keywords:   happiness, unemployment, welfare, income, psychological costs, social norms, psychology

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