2018 (15), №3

Philosophical Foundations of Happiness Economics



For citation: 

Starikova A. A.  (2018). Philosophical Foundations of Happiness Economics. Zhurnal Economicheskoj Teorii [Russian Journal of Economic Theory], 15(3), 403-407


The article is devoted to the philosophical foundations of happiness economics as well as the correlation between existing philosophical views on the notion “happiness” and underlying principles of new theory. The comparison and interpretation of various philosophical concepts allow the author to define the notion «happiness» in terms of ethics and economics as a satisfaction with life. The study of the concept “happiness” reveals its dualism in relation to «material and spiritual», «objective and subjective». The first aspect of this duality shows the subject of happiness economics as a set of factors that affect life satisfaction, and are divided into economic and non-economic determinants. The second aspect consists in human activity and the independence of happiness from life circumstances as numerous psychological research studies on the effect of adaptation manifest. Three ethical schools of thought that deal with the notion of happiness contribute to the philosophical foundations of happiness economics. Hedonism that interprets happiness as a result of human activity allows to use the indicator of subjective well-being in social studies, while eudemonism gives support to the informed desire theory and the self-determination theory. Utilitarianism shows a superiority of mental pleasures over the pleasures of the body and promotes the ordinalistic approach to the estimation of happiness. Differences in interpretations of the notion «happiness» indicate the need to take into account cultural characteristics while comparing life satisfaction in various countries. The results of the philosophical and ethical analysis guide the study of happiness economics.

Starikova Anna Andreevna  –  PhD student, Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russian Federation; e-mail: anna.starikova.anya@gmail.com)