Spring 2022

Consumption and the Pursuit of Happiness

Listed in: Economics, as ECON-275

Formerly listed as: ECON-35

Moodle site: Course


Daniel P. Barbezat (Section 01)


Economics is often defined as “the study of the allocation of scarce resources.” But for what reason are we making this allocation? Most often, the goal is thought of as the attainment of well-­being, for individuals, groups or societies and even ecosystems as a whole. Economics is essentially the study of the attainment of well­‐being. Scarcity is the essential word – without it, a study of allocation would be irrelevant, and, of course, scarcity doesn’t just exist: it is created out of the interaction between limited resources/production and our wanting. This expresses the primary duality of economics: allocating resources to account for the interaction of what is or what is produced (supply) & our desire and wanting (demand). This course focuses on the demand-side – it is about our wanting, our decisions, our well-­being, and what economics has to say about these and their interactions. Social scientists have become more interested in happiness and well‐being and have begun to question more intensely its measurement, distribution and causes, building on the foundations of many economists and philosophers over a long history of analysis. In this course, we will examine this literature with careful reading and textual analysis, and our own experiences from contemplative exercises.

Requisite: ECON 111/111E or equivalent. Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor Barbezat.

If Overenrolled: Combination of preference for majors and students' expression of interest


Attention to Issues of Social Justice, Attention to Writing, Quantitative Reasoning


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2015, Spring 2022