Does Art Make Us Happy?

  • Bruno S. FreyEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Economics book series (BRIEFSECONOMICS)


Empirical evidence reveals that artists are happier than similar other people, and that participation in cultural activities raises life satisfaction. It may be that the causation runs in the opposite direction, namely that happy people become artists, and that they attend more cultural occasions. However, there are strong indications that this reverse effect is not dominant and that art indeed makes artists and consumers happy.


Artists Participation in cultural activities Life satisfaction Unhappy artist Measuring happiness Attendance Leisure 

Related Literature

  1. Frey BS (2008a) Cities, culture and happiness. ETHOS, World Cities Summit Issue, June 2008:102–111Google Scholar

A modest, but significant effect of attending art events on happiness has been found for the United Kingdom by

  1. Hand C (2018) Do the arts make you happy? A quantile regression approach. J Cult Econ 42(2):271–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar

A general survey of research on subjective life satisfaction is provided in

  1. Frey BS (2018) Economics of happiness. Springer Briefs in Economics, Springer, ChamCrossRefGoogle Scholar

A more extensive discussion is provided in

  1. Frey BS (2008b) Happiness—a revolution in economics. MIT Press, Cambridge, MACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Frey BS, Stutzer A (2002) Happiness and economics. How the economy and institutions affect human well-being. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREW - Center for Research in Economics and Well-BeingUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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