Discussion Paper

No. 2014-1 | January 09, 2014
Approaches to Well-Being, Use of Psychology and Paternalism in Economics
(Published in Special Issue Economics, Psychology and Choice Theory)

Abstract

This paper discusses three approaches to well-being in economics which use insights from psychology to support their position: Scitovsky’s Joyless Economy, happiness economics, and the constitutional approach to happiness in economics. It shows that in the way these approaches make use of psychology, normative choice is involved, and there is room for personal judgement. First, an approach to well-being, as an approach to what is worth pursuing, is necessarily normative. The use of psychological theories to support an approach to well-being relies on a normative step, revealed by the choice of a psychological theory by the economist. Second, personal judgement is often needed to translate the findings of psychology to recommendations for practice. Both things have implications for those theories which define well-being as something different than the fulfillment of individual preferences whatever they are, and therefore yield potential for paternalism. The paternalistic recommendations derived by economists are not based on positive science only, but also rely on personal judgement and normative choice.

JEL Classification

I31 D71 B21

Cite As

Marion Collewet (2014). Approaches to Well-Being, Use of Psychology and Paternalism in Economics. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2014-1, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2014-1

Assessment



Comments and Questions


Abdul waheed - comment
January 10, 2014 - 13:32

interesting


Anonymous - Referee Report 1
January 30, 2014 - 08:33

see attached file


Anonymous - Invited Reader Comment
February 04, 2014 - 08:32

see attached file


Anonymous - Referee Report 2
February 20, 2014 - 08:25

see attached file


Marion Collewet - Reply to Referee Reports and Reader Comment
April 03, 2014 - 08:07

see attached file