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Updated A.Y. 2021-2022

Topics in applied economics


Prof. Leonardo Becchetti

PART ONE The research on subjective wellbeing: life satisfaction/happiness indicators, methodological issues, empirical findings and policy implication

This part of the course deals with applied research on subjective wellbeing. The research developed from the well-known observation of the decoupling between GDP growth and the share of very happy people (Easterlin paradox). We will explain how life satisfaction is measured using cognitive, affective and eudaimonic indicators up to the novel generativity measures. We well deal with methodological issues and empirical research with special focus to the: gender happiness paradox, happiness and health, happiness and education, happiness and relative income). We will conclude on insights and policy implications for the definition of wellbeing indicators


Material of the program: slides presented during the course




Becchetti, Leonardo, and Alessandra Pelloni. "What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?." International review of economics 60.2 (2013): 113-155.

Becchetti, L., Massari R. and Naticchioni, P., 2013, The drivers of happiness inequality: suggestions for promoting social cohesion Oxford Economic Papers, Volume 66, Issue 2, 1 April 2014, Pages 419–442.


Becchetti L., Pisani F., 2014, Family money, relational life and (class) relative wealth: an empirical analysis on life satisfaction of secondary school students, Journal of Happiness Studies, Vol. 15, (3), pp 503–525.


Becchetti L., Castriota S., Corrado L., Giachin Ricca E., 2013, Beyond the Joneses: Inter-country income comparisons and happiness, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 45, (C), p. 187-195.


Becchetti, Leonardo, Maria Jua Bachelet, and Fabio Pisani. "Eudaimonic happiness as a leading health indicator: cross-country European evidence." Applied Economics (2020): 1-19.


Becchetti L. Bellucci, D., 2019, “Generativity and subjective wellbeing” CEFIM working paper n.144 and AICCON working paper n. 169, International Review of Economics, forth.


Easterlin R.A. and Angelescu L., (2009). Happiness and growth the world over: Time series evidence on the happiness-income paradox. IZA Discussion Paper, (4060).

Erikson, E.H. Childhood and Society. (2nd ed.). New York: Norton; 1993.

Erikson, EH & Erikson, JM. The Life Cycle Completed. New York: Norton; 1998.

Frey, B., Luechinger, S. and A. Stutzer, (2009). The life satisfaction approach to the value of public goods: the case of terrorism. Public Choice, 138:317–345.

Frey, B. S. and Stutzer, A., (2000). Happiness, economy and institutions. The Economic Journal, 110, 918–938.

Frey, B. and A. Stutzer, (2002), What can Economists learn from Happiness Research, Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 40, pp. 402-435.

Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. (2005). Income and Well-being: An Empirical Analysis of the Comparison Income Effect. Journal of Public Economics, 895-6,: 997-1019.



PART TWO Empirical research on corporate social responsibility: topics 


The old idea of benevolent planners solving market failures (differences between private and social optimum) has given way to a new more articulated welfare paradigm that takes into account the weakness, conflicts of interest and capture of domestic institution in the global economic system. Corporate social and environmental responsibility thereby emerged as a four-handed approach whether the role of the invisible hand of market mechanisms and the visible hand of institutions is complemented by the third hand of corporate responsibility and the fourth hand of active citizenship that votes with the wallet. In this part of the course we examine some methodological aspects, empirical findings and policy implications of research on corporate social responsibility


Material of the program: slides presented during the course


Becchetti, Leonardo, Francesco Salustri, and Pasquale Scaramozzino. "Making information on CSR scores salient: a randomized field experiment." Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 81.6 (2019): 1193-1213.


Becchetti L. Ciciretti R., Herzel S. Dalo, A., 2015, Socially Responsible and Conventional Investment Funds: Performance Comparison and the Global Financial Crisis  Applied Financial Economics,Vol. 47, (25).


Crifo, Patricia, and Vanina D. Forget. "The economics of corporate social responsibility: A firmā€level perspective survey." Journal of Economic Surveys 29.1 (2015): 112-130.

Kitzmueller, Markus, and Jay Shimshack. "Economic perspectives on corporate social responsibility." Journal of Economic Literature 50.1 (2012): 51-84.