Tibor Scitovsky made fundamental contributions across many fields of economics, from international trade and growth to monopoly power and competition. But his main interest, and principal legacy, has been in exploring new areas in welfare economics by drawing on research in psychology and other social science disciplines. In The Joyless Economy (1976), Scitovsky analyzed the formation of preferences and how these processes may respond, on the one hand, to activities that simply ease and free life from pain and bother and what he called comfort or defensive activities and, on the other, to “stimulating” activities in all their variety, from sports and the arts to intellectual activities. These, that he deemed creative, are also the pursuits that characterize a joyful economy. He owed this distinction to the discovery of a new body of experimental research in psychophysiology. In my article I retrace the basic contributions of this new psychology of motivations and show how Scitovsky used them to formulate a new model of individual choice.

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