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Happiness and Relational Goods: Well-being and Interpersonal Relations in the Economic Sphere

Organized by:
University of Milano Bicocca, Department of Economics
University of Padova, Department of Economic Sciences
Econometica (Inter-university centre foreconomic ethics and corporate social responsibility)
Happiness, Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRs)
Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences (CISEPS)

June 11-13, 2009 - Isola di San Servolo, Venezia




The burgeoning empirical literature on happiness has shown that the ability of ordinary economic goods at generating well-being is quite limited. Other factors previously neglected appear to play a no lesser role in explaining individual and group happiness. Among these are variables of the interpersonal sphere such as time spent with friends or relatives, the social climate at work, or participation in churches or associations. While conventional goods have been the object of myriads of careful scientific investigations, the same cannot be said of the intangible goods that pertain to the interpersonal sphere. In particular, despite the expression relational goods is more and more often used in order to express the fact that intensity and genuineness of interpersonal relations have a value for people involved, the nature of these goods and the patterns of their production and consumption are still unclear.

On the empirical side, a lot is to be learned as to the subjective importance of patterns and features of personalized interactions, relative to conventional goods. The conference aims at stimulating and spreading research on the non instrumental values that are at stake in all those personalized interactions that are implied by, or connected with, the internal organization of enterprises, trade, retail, the consumption of public goods, etc., with special attention to their effects on the well-being of people involved, both directly and indirectly.

Topics of interest include

- happiness and social interactions in the production and consumption spheres

- interpersonal climate, organizational performance and worker satisfaction

- implicit prices of quantity and characteristics of social interactions

- experimental studies of personalized interactions

- social capital, institutional design and patterns of human interaction

- cultural values, social pressure, and demand of conventional versus relational goods

- intrinsic motivation and interpersonal relations

- foundational, historical and interdisciplinary aspects

- policy implications

Important Dates

- Electronic Submission Deadline: February 9, 2009

- Notification of Acceptance before: February 20, 2009.

- Discounted subscription until: March 6, 2009

- Paper Submission Deadline: May 10, 2009

Keynote Speakers

Andrew Clark (Paris School of Economics)

Giacomo Corneo (Free University, Berlin)

Robert Frank (Cornell University)

Richard Layard (London School of Economics)

Julie Nelson (University of Massachussets at Boston)

Frans Van Winden (University of Amsterdam)



University of Milan Bicocca, Department of Economics

The Department of Economics at the University of Milan Bicocca is a leading center in Italy for research and teaching in economics at both undergraduate and graduate level. The Department's faculty is a vibrant collection of economists, economic historians and statisticians. The main fields of...

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