Happiness Economics, Eudaimonia and Positive Psychology: From Happiness Economics to Flourishing Economics
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A remarkable current development, happiness economics focuses on the relevance of people’s happiness in economic analyses. As this theory has been criticised for relying on an incomplete notion of happiness, this paper intends to support it with richer philosophical and psychological foundations. Specifically, it suggests that happiness economics should be based on Aristotle’s philosophical eudaimonia concept and on a modified version of ‘positive psychology’ that stresses human beings’ relational nature. First, this analysis describes happiness economics and its shortcomings. Next, it introduces Aristotle’s eudaimonia and takes a look at positive psychology with this lens, elaborating on the need to develop a new approach that goes beyond the economics of happiness: the economics of flourishing. Finally, the paper specifies some possible socio-economic objectives of a eudaimonic economics of happiness.
KeywordsHappiness economics Flourishing Positive psychology
JEL ClassificationA12 B59 I30
We acknowledge the comments of John B. Davis, Jorge Streb, and two anonymous referees. We are also grateful for the English editing of M. Donadini.
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