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Economics of Well-being


Course objectives

  • Understanding what matters for well-being
  • Knowledge on measures of people’s well-being
  • Introduction into and application of (behavioral) economic thinking
  • Discussion of research in the field economics of well-being
  • Inspirations for your own work / your own world view

Course description
In this course, participants get a mind map of modern well-being research in business and economics. An introduction to the current state of knowledge in this new area is provided. The course enables participants to critically reflect various topics from a (behavioral) economic perspective and provides new insights into how human beings value goods, services, and more general social and economic conditions. We also discuss the potential insights for the organizational context and the public policy perspective.

Learning methods
The lecture combines theoretical and empirical inputs by the lecturer with focused discussions on specific issues. If available, empirical evidence based on statistical analyses are presented.

Evaluation procedures and Grading criteria
The assessment is based on a written exam in essay format. Details about the format of the exam are introduced during the course. Completion of a group assignment is mandatory for admission to the exam. It will be introduced during the course as well.

Required materials
Corr, P. and Plagnol A. (2019). Behavioral Economics: Basics. New York: Routledge.
Dolan, P., Peasgood, T, and White (2008). Do We Really Know What Makes Us Happy? A Review of the Economic Literature on the Factors Associated with Subjective Well-Being. Journal of Economic Psychology 29: 94–122
Dunn, E.W., Gilbert D.T., and Wilson T.D. (2011). If Money Doesn't Make You Happy then You Probably Aren't Spending It Right. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21(2): 115-125.
Frey, B.S. and Stutzer A. (2002). What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research? Journal of Economic Literature 40(2): 402-435. 
Frey, B.S. and Benz M. (2004). From Imperialism to Inspiration: A Survey of Economics and Psychology. In Davis, J.B., Marciano A., and Runde J. (Eds.). The Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Pub.L.
Kahneman, D. and Krueger, A.B. (2006). Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being. Journal of Economic Perspectives 20(1): 3-24.
Layard, R. and Ward, G. (2020). Can We Be Happier? CentrePiece Spring 2020: 1-5.
Meier, S. (2006). A Survey of Economic Theories and Field Evidence on Pro‐Social Behavior. Working Paper No. 06‐6: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Powdthavee, N., and Stutzer, A. (2014). Economic Approaches to Understanding Change in Happiness. In K. M. Sheldon & R. E. Lucas (Eds.). Stability of Happiness: Theories and Evidence on Whether Happiness Can Change (pp. 219–244). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Stutzer, A. (2009) Happiness when Temptation Overwhelms Willpower. In: A. K. Dutt and B. Radcliff (eds.). Happiness, Economics and Politics. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Stutzer, A. (2017). Governments Should Maximize the Happiness of the Population. In Frey B.S. and Iselin D.: Economic Ideas You Should Forget. Springer International.
Wilson, T.D. and Gilbert, D.T. (2005). Affective Forecasting: Knowing What to Want. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(3): 131-134.



Odermatt R.

Docente titolare del corso

Conte L.


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