A narrative approach to happiness measures: the complementary knowledge of fiction and film
by Melissa Kennedy
International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education (IJPEE), Vol. 13, No. 1, 2022

Abstract: Considerations of happiness, which have only come to the fore in economics since the World Happiness Report (WHR), are foundational to at least 4,000 years of storytelling. While mainstream economics tends to ignore its roots in moral philosophy and underplay well-being as a goal of economy, these aspects come to the fore in narrative. Narrative is unique in that it promotes relational rather than transactional values by foregrounding subjective, emotive and affective behaviour difficult to register in the WHR. This paper argues for the importance of narrative studies to pluralist economics through case studies of Charles Dickens's 1843 novella A Christmas Carol, and the 1997 British film The Full Monty that emphasise happiness, well-being and prosociality. As narrative becomes an increasingly common term in economics, it is crucial to get literary economists onboard with the heterodox programme, as economists can benefit from the knowledge unique to narrative.

Online publication date: Thu, 28-Jul-2022

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