December, 2005

Happiness and Economics Research: Insights from Austrian and Public Choice Economics

  • Peter J. Boettke

    Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Key materials
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Over the past decade, economists have increasingly focused on happiness research. The main focus has been on understanding the interconnection between economic outcomes and the resulting happiness of economic actors. The work in this area has yielded many implications for policy in a number of areas, including public finance (government expenditure and taxation), welfare policy, and labor law. This working paper will critically reexamine the happiness and economics research program and the resulting policy implications through an Austrian/Public Choice lens. It is the authors' contention that the main insights of these schools of thought have been neglected in this area of research.