International Review of Economics

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 143–162 | Cite as

The Austrian theory of relational goods

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Abstract

In modern rich societies, the traditional positive correlation between income and happiness seems to have disappeared: even though their income keeps rising, people do not declare themselves to be happier. This problem, which is known in literature as the “paradox of happiness”, has been thoroughly studied. One of the possible explanations is based on the observation that an income increase can sometimes entail the destruction of those relational goods on which happiness largely relies: relationships of family, friendship, love and fellowship. This research aims to show how, in the age of Marginalism, the most important attempt at establishing if and in which sense relational goods are economic goods is carried out by the very Austrian economists who led Robbins to write the epistemological statute of modern economic science.

Keywords

Austrian school Relational goods Economics and happiness 

JEL Classification

B13 D60 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I wish to thank two anonymous referees for their invaluable comments on an earlier version of the paper. This work is a development of Magliulo (2008).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EconomicsLUSPIORomaItaly

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