Spring 2009

Consumption and Pursuit of Happiness

Listed in: Economics, as ECON-35


Daniel P. Barbezat (Section 01)


In the Declaration of Independence, the Founders called the "pursuit ofhappiness" an "unalienable right," yet both psychologists and economists have poignently noted that we do not well understand the determinents of the attainment ofhappiness or contentment. In this course, we will examine the neoclassical model of utility maximization and contrast it to other modes of understanding how and why people make the decisions they do, as they pursue their happiness. We will examine the work of economists Richard Easterlin, Richard Layard, Andrew Clark, psychologists John Perkins Daniel Kahneman, and buddhists David Loy, Prayudh Payutto and others. The course will also include a lab in which students will examine their own consumption decisions and their assumptions about the attainment ofhappiness. Requisite: Econ 11 Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Barbezat.