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Journal Articles Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics Year : 2022

Happiness and Public Spending


This article presents the traditional limitations of happiness economics and the uncertainty about the econometric relationship between public spending and happiness. It also argues that the happiness metric is a new form of social engineering, and that as such, happiness economics is biased toward a particular political utopia and scientific ideal. The political utopia is liberticidal, antidemocratic. It transforms democracy into “pollo-cracy”—i.e., the government (kratos) to the pollsters. The scientific ideal is positivist and favors government by numbers. This scientific norm underestimates the limits of statistical work. The social engineering of happiness is a new fatal presumption of policy makers. It is a new way to critique the free market economy and to substitute profit with a social criterion of quality of life and happiness.

Dates and versions

hal-03911710 , version 1 (23-12-2022)



François Facchini. Happiness and Public Spending. Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, 2022, 25 (2), ⟨10.35297/qjae.010132⟩. ⟨hal-03911710⟩
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