I have been reading an excellent paper by Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey. What Happiness Research Can Tell Us About Self-Control Problems. Here is the abstract:
‘Neoclassical economic theory rules out systematic errors in consumption choice. According to the basic view, individuals know what they choose. They are able to predict how much utility an activity or a good produces for them now and in the future and they can maximize their utility. This implies that behavior reveals consistent preferences. This approach makes it impossible to detect and understand sub-optimal consumption decisions, due to problems of self-control and the misprediction of utility. We propose the economics of happiness as a methodological approach to study these phenomena. Based on proxy measures for experienced utility, it is, in principle, possible to directly address whether some observed behavior is sub-optimal and is therefore reducing a personís well-being. We discuss recent evidence on smoking and eating habits, TV viewing and commuting choice.‘
This is yet another paper of the fast growing literature on happiness and economics. Reading it, I started wondering: are the results from happiness research having any influence on the way introductory courses in microeconomics are being taught? It would be interesting to find out. In my university Intermediate Microeconomics by Hal Varian is the course book and as far as I am aware it does not incorporate findings in happiness research. Is anyone aware of course books that do so?