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Freedom and the Pursuit of Happiness
An Economic and Political Perspective

$28.00 USD

  • Date Published: September 2014
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781139990271

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About the Authors
  • This book is about the relationship between different concepts of freedom and happiness. The book's authors distinguish three concepts for which an empirical measure exists: opportunity to choose (negative freedom), capability to choose (positive freedom), and autonomy to choose (autonomy freedom). They also provide a comprehensive account of the relationship between freedom and well-being by comparing channels through which freedoms affect quality of life. The book also explores whether the different conceptions of freedom complement or replace each other in the determination of the level of well-being. In so doing, the authors make freedoms a tool for policy making and are able to say which conception is the most effective for well-being, as circumstances change. The results have implications for a justification of a free society: maximizing freedoms is good for its favorable consequences upon individual well-being, a fundamental value for the judgment of human advantage.

    • Contains a comprehensive account on the relationship between freedom and well-being by discussing and comparing the theoretical and empirical literature
    • Develops empirical analysis that sheds light on the absolute and relative effects on well-being exercized by three different concepts of freedom
    • Expands the set of arguments in support of an overall free society by offering a consequentialist motivation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The authors take the concept of freedom beyond anything that has been done before. They start with an appealing philosophical concept, translate it into a neat formal definition, give it a convincing operationalization, and put the whole thing to work in an intriguing empirical analysis of autonomy, freedom, and the welfare state. Bavetta, Navarra, and Maimone have given economics its freedom, and freedom its economics. This compelling book will fascinate readers, whether they are theoretically, empirically, practically, or philosophically inclined.' Cristina Bicchieri, S. J. Patterson Harvie Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

    'Freedom and the Pursuit of Happiness: An Economic and Political Perspective addresses fundamental questions in democratic theory from an empirical as well as a philosophical perspective. It focuses on freedom as autonomous options for choice and makes use of cross-national survey data at the individual level as well as aggregate economic data. In significantly extending the 'human capabilities' approach of Amartya Sen, it provides an important corrective to the ideology-laden thinking found in many attempts by economists to measure economic freedom. By making central the perceived quality of life of ordinary citizens, it avoids treating economic freedom as synonymous with limited government or with measures of economic success that pay no attention to distributional issues.' Bernard Grofman, Jack W. Peltason Chair of Democratic Studies, University of California, Irvine

    'An important and fascinating book that addresses fundamental questions in political philosophy with the rigor and empirical relevance of modern economics. It should be on the shelves of any social scientist who wants to fully understand how political and economic institutions contribute to individual well-being.' Guido Tabellini, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Milan

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2014
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139990271
    • contains: 99 b/w illus. 34 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Individual well-being: theory and measurement
    3. Autonomy freedom and individual well-being
    4. Capability and individual well-being
    5. Economic freedom, political freedom and individual well-being
    6. Autonomy and negative freedom
    7. Autonomy and capability
    8. Autonomy, limited government, capability, and happiness
    9. Normative consequences of the pursuit of happiness.

  • Authors

    Sebastiano Bavetta, Università degli Studi, Palermo, Italy
    Sebastiano Bavetta is Professor of Economics at Università degli Studi, Palermo, Italy and visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches 'Economics of Freedom' in the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program. He received his Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interests have been concerned with issues in positive and normative economics, and in political theory. He has published several books, including The Economics of Freedom, with Pietro Navarra (Cambridge, 2012). His work has also appeared in several journals including Social Choice and Welfare, the Journal of Theoretical Politics, Constitutional Political Economy, Theory and Decision, and Economic Affairs.

    Pietro Navarra, Università degli Studi di Messina, Italy
    Pietro Navarra is Rector and Professor of Public Sector Economics at Università degli Studi di Messina, Italy. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Buckingham. His research interests have focused on the working of political institutions and their effects on the functioning of the economy. He has published extensively in volumes of collected works and scientific journals including the Journal of International Business Studies, the European Journal of Political Economy, the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Public Choice, Constitutional Political Economy, the Global Strategy Journal, Economics of Governance, the Economics Bulletin, the International Business Review, Applied Economics, Economic Affairs, the Journal of Innovation Production Management, Mind and Society, Applied Economics Letters, and the Management International Review. Professor Navarra is also the author or editor of several books, including, most recently, The Economics of Freedom (with Sebastiano Bavetta, Cambridge, 2012).

    Dario Maimone, Università degli Studi di Messina, Italy
    Dario Maimone is Assistant Professor of Public Sector Economics at Università degli Studi di Messina, Italu. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Essex. He has been visiting scholar in several academic institutions, including George Mason University, Temple University, and Queen Mary, University of London. He has published in several academic journals such as the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Applied Economics, and Applied Economic Letters, as well as in volumes of collected works.

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