Much attention has been given to the economics of everyday life, which typically applies economic principles to the analysis of the different choices that people face under different situations. Yet there are hardly any books on the economics of life—an economics that takes the finite lifespan as the starting point and that looks at how one can maximize the subjective value from life given the constraint of the limited lifespan.
In this volume, Lok Sang Ho suggests that the lack of progress in happiness among developed countries despite significant economic growth is due to a deficit of "mental goods", rather than a lack of material goods. The author stresses the role of culture and mental habits in determining the efficacy of gaining mental goods which includes love, a sense of security and autonomy, contentment, self-esteem, self-acceptance, and freedom from anxiety. Drawing on empirical research, the book explores how to invest, work, and consume from a whole life perspective, arguing that every action - consumption, investment, or work - should enhance the total quality of life. This overriding concern about life itself is known as love.
The Psychology and Economics of Happiness uses the analytical framework of economists on a subject studied by positive psychologists, drawing both from empirical evidence and from psychological literature. It will be of interest to researchers and academics interested in economic and positive psychology, as well as those from related fields keen to learn more about living fuller, happier lives.
Table of Contents
1. The Economics of Life: Happiness Requires Both Physical and Mental Goods 2. Love and the Economics of Love 3. The Role of Culture in Household Production 4. Mental Capital and Habit Formation, with a Digression to Spiritual Capital 5. The Happiness Formula 6. Marriage, Mental Capital, and Happiness 7. More on Mental Goods: Achievement Versus Vanity 8. Insight 9. Fortitude 10. Engagement: Living with a Purpose 11. Three Happinesses and Transcendental Happiness 12. Avoiding Regrets and Coming to Terms with Past Errors 13. Avoiding Worries and Coming to Terms with an Uncertain Future and Negative Emotions 14. The Paradox of Choice: More Choices and More Sophisticated Products Need Not Translate into Greater Happiness 15. Holistic Perspective of Life, Successful Living, and Happiness 16. Epilogue
Lok Sang Ho is Professor and Head of the Department of Economics and Director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
'Lok Sang Ho’s latest book, The Psychology and Economics of Happiness: Love, Life and Positive Living, is one gem that should not be overlooked. […] Ho [writes] in an engaging writing style that in tone and manner, to me, recalls books such as Seligman’s (2002) Authentic Happiness and Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) Flow. […] a thought-provoking volume that explores how to best make use of that limited resource, the human life span.' -- Grant J. Rich, PsycCRITIQUES, August 4, 2014, Vol. 59, No.31, Article 3
'The Psychology and Economics of Happiness is a rare gem! Drawing on scientific research findings from economics and positive psychology it shows how we can maximize our positive life experiences within the constraints of a limited lifespan. Taking a whole life perspective, Professor Lok Sang Ho gives very coherent guidance on how to live so as to maximize satisfaction in terms of acquiring physical goods and mental goods including a sense of achievement, autonomy, dignity, and self-acceptance. This is a book that everybody should read.' -- Professor Alan Carr, School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Ireland
'After reading this volume it is easy to see why it is crucial to have a book that focuses solely on the economics of love, life and happiness. This is because economics, especially behavioral economics, opens to us a whole new and highly useful way of understanding these crucial and pivotal topics. [...] Professor Ho brings us a much needed, timely addition to this vastly important, worthy endeavor.' -- Dr. J. Richard Cookerly, Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy