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Policies for Happiness$
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Stefano Bartolini, Ennio Bilancini, Luigino Bruni, and Pier Luigi Porta

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758730

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198758730.001.0001

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Why Policies for Children, Early Education, and Culture?

Why Policies for Children, Early Education, and Culture?

Drawing on Scitovsky’s Thought

(p.215) 10 Why Policies for Children, Early Education, and Culture?
Policies for Happiness

Maurizio Pugno

Oxford University Press

Scitovsky argued that an economy is joyless if it does not pay attention to children and humanistic culture. With the help of a model, this chapter reconsiders this intuition on the basis of recent empirical research in economics, as well as in psychology. New priorities for public policy may thus emerge. In fact, early intervention seems especially effective in preventing behavioral, social, and health problems in adulthood, while later remediation is more costly. Inadequate parenting in response to children’s psychological needs, and boredom appear to play a significant part in individuals’ later undesirable behaviors. Secondly, parenting which creates stimulating conditions for children help maintain their intrinsic motivations over the life-cycle, with the powerful consequence that learning becomes both pleasurable and skills-accumulating. Thirdly, humanistic culture induces individuals to engage in wider and deeper thinking, thus helping them to evaluate different options in different fields, and to find satisfactory challenging activities.

Keywords:   children, early intervention, humanistic culture, Scitovsky, intrinsic motivations

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