Economics of Happiness

Economics of Happiness
Licence Économie et gestionParcours International economics and management


“We live in a favored age and yet we do not feel favored.” The Progress Paradox sets out to explain “why capitalism and liberal democracy, both of which justify themselves on the grounds that they produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number, leave so much dissatisfaction in their wake.” Just how important to happiness is wealth? How important is job satisfaction, the rate of unemployment, the rate of economic growth, democratic institutions, or social safety nets, etc.? In other words, how do various factors such as economic growth, unemployment and inflation, as well as institutional variables, affect individual well-being? Are people with a higher income happier than those who earn less? Can we find a correlation between happiness and GDP, both at the individual and national levels? It may appear obvious to ask these kinds of questions, but until recently economists, for the most part, ignored them. Therefore, today’s interest in this area constitutes a real revolution in the field of economics. The objective of this course is to consider recent work in economics of happiness which relates to critical issues such as quality of life or sustainable development.

Compétences visées

Students will be able :

  • to apprehend, to understand, and to explain the progress paradox of hypermodern societies
  • to understand, to describe, and analyze the new issues to measure progress and to do the link with happiness
  • to understand, to describe, and analyze the salient facts of happiness
  • to understand, and to explain the perspectives of economics of happiness on the analysis of unemployment, inflation, inequality and also the impact of the choice of relevant policies
  • to retain, and to explain main evidences of economics of happiness

Modalités d'organisation et de suivi

Plan of the lecture:
I. Some glimpses of Economy of Happiness

  1. Salient facts on happiness
  2. GDP and Happiness
  3. How does income affect happiness?
  4. How does unemployment and inflation affect happiness?

II. International Comparisons

  1. Example of rankings
  2. The better life index
  3. How to interpret these international comparisons of happiness?

III. Creativity and Happiness


  • Sciences économiques
  • Sciences de gestion et du management


  • Delle Fave A., Brdar I. , Freire T., Vella-Brodrick D. and Wissing M.P (2011), “The Eudaimonic and Hedonic Components of Happiness: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings,” SocialIndicators Research, January 2011, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 185-207
  • Di Tella R., MacCulloch R.J. and Oswald A.J. (2001), "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  • Easterlin, R.A. (1974), “Does economic growth improve the human lot? Some empirical evidence”, in P.A. David and M.W. Reder (Eds.), Nations and households in economic growth: Essays inhonor of Moses Abramowitz. New York: Academic Press.
  • Florida R., Mellander C. and Rentfrow J. (2013), “The Happiness of Cities”, Regional Studies, 47:4, pp. 613-627
  • Frey, B.S. and Stutzer A. (2002), "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?" Journal of Economic Literature, 40(2), pp. 402-435
  • Konow J. and Earley J. (2008), "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal ofPublic Economics, vol. 92(1-2), pp. 1-33, February.
  • Inglehart R. (1997), Modernization and Postmodernization, Princeton University Press, Princeton Mellander C., .Florida R., Rentfrow J. (2011), “The creative class, post-industrialism and the happiness of nations” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, CambridgePolitical Economy Society, vol. 5(1), pages 31-43.
  • Munier F. and Pan J. (2014), “Creativity, Growth, and Nudge: the Case of Shanghai”, Marché &Organisation, april, special session China
  • Munier F. and El ouardighi J. (2013, “Should the ECB be reformed: Empirical Evidences and Proposals for Public Happiness Policies?, Public Happiness Interdisciplinary Conference Rome June 4-5, 2013, LUMSA University, Rome University of Milan - Bicocca University of Rome - Tor Ve rgata St. Thomas Aquinas University, Rome HEIRS, CISEPS, IREC
  • Stiglitz J.E., Sen A. and Fitoussi J.-P. [2010], Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress,


Responsable(s) de l'enseignement