Spring 2015

Microeconomic Foundations of Consumption and Happiness

Listed in: Economics, as ECON-425

Formerly listed as: ECON-35


Daniel P. Barbezat (Section 01)


In the Declaration of Independence, the Founders called the “pursuit of happiness” an “inalienable right,” yet both psychologists and economists have noted that we do not well understand the determinants of the attainment of happiness or contentment. In this course, we will examine the literature on well-being in both micro- and macroeconomic contexts. We will review 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. On the macroeconomic side, we will attempt to understand what factors (e.g. growth, unemployment, inflation) seem most important for policy-makers to focus on in order to sustain their citizens' well-being. The course will also include opportunities for students to examine their own consumption decisions and assumptions about the attainment of happiness. 

Requisite: ECON 300 or 301.  Not open to students who have taken ECON 275.  Limited to 40 students. Spring semester.  Professor Barbezat.

If Overenrolled: Priority to those who attend first two classes


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2022