Daedalus the Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, has a special issue (Spring 2004) on “Happiness.”  (See Smith Library’s Academic Search Premier database for Daedalus back issues or the Periodicals Room for the print copy.) Some of the more relevant Daedalus articles are:

  • Easterlin, Richard A. (2004). “The economics of happiness,” Daedalus, Spring, 26-33.: A “must read”  from the economist responsible for introducing well-being research into economics in 1974.  In this article, Easterlin focuses on what we learn from survey data on the causes of subjective well-being, and, based on this, what we might do as individuals to improve it
  • Frank, Robert H. (2004). “How not to buy happiness,” Daedalus, Spring, 69-79.: Frank provides two different answers to the question “Does money buy happiness?”  He proposes that we need to spend more money on inconspicuous, rather than conspicuous, consumption in order to gain healthier, longer, and happier lives.
  • Biswas-Diener, Robert, Ed Diener and Maya Tamir (2004). “The psychology of subjective well-being,” Daedalus, Spring, 18-25.: A co-authored paper by the 2006 Brown Symposium lead speaker, Dr.Ed Diener, about how scientific research has advanced our understanding of happiness.  Moving away from simple descriptive studies, behavioral scientists have undertaken serious empirical examination of happiness.  By employing testable hypotheses, longitudinal designs, controlled experiential studies, and multiple measurement methods, researchers explain subjective well-being more definitively than less formal approaches common in the past.

Diener, Ed, Eunkook Suh and Shigehiro Oishi (1997). “Recent Findings on Subjective Well-Being Indian Journal of Clinical Psychology."

Frey, Bruno S. and Alois Stutzer (2002). What can economists learn from happiness research? Journal of Economic Literature, July, 402-35.: Happiness is related, but not identical,  to the concept of utility in traditional economics.  On the one hand, the concept of subjective happiness is a valuable complementary approach, which covers many more aspects of human well-being than utility. On the other hand, subjective well-being can be considered a useful approximation to utility, which economists have avoided measuring explicitly.  This allows us to empirically study problems, which so far could only be analyzed on an abstract theoretical level.

Rabin, Matthew (2002). "A perspective on psychology and economics," European Economic Review 46(4-5), May, 657-685.: This essay provides a perspective on the trend towards integrating psychology into economics. Some topics are discussed, and arguments are provided for why movement towards greater psychological realism in economics will improve mainstream economics.

Camerer, Colin, George Loewenstein, and Drazen Prelec (2003). Neuroeconomics: How neuroscience can inform economics, unpublished Cal Tech Working Paper.: This paper presents some of the basic ideas and methods in neuroscience and speculates about areas of economics where brain research is likely to affect predictions.