Review Of "Happiness And Economics: How The Economy And Institutions Affect Well-Being" By B. S. Frey

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Frey (Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, Zurich) and Stutzer (Univ. of Zurich) are highly successful in their effort to synthesize--from an economic perspective--happiness research from a variety of disciplines and to extend that research, using an economic orientation. As the authors note, economics has, to some degree, come later to the study of happiness than other social sciences, and their book clearly presents those contributions to happiness research. The authors are straightforward in showing the limitations of traditional economic understanding of happiness and broad in their presentation of newer, richer ways of thinking about happiness in an economic framework. Happiness, here, is analyzed using both microeconomic and macroeconomic orientations. Discussion covers determinants--including demographic and institutional--of happiness in a microeconomic context and on the major macroeconomic variables that may affect happiness; i.e., income, unemployment, and inflation. The work overall is enriched by support from empirical evidence, when such is available, and by reference to work from other fields, most prominently psychology, political science, and sociology. The relationship between aspects of politics and happiness is given particular weight. End-of-chapter annotated bibliographies will be helpful to researchers seeking more depth on particular topics. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate through faculty collections.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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