Economics, Psychology and the Joyless Economy: The Biography of Tibor Scitovsky

This research project develops an intellectual biography of the Hungarian economist Tibor Scitovsky (1910-2002), who is known primarily for his path breaking 1976 book, The Joyless Economy.

Tibor Scitovsky’s The Joyless Economy offered a pioneering critique of both the standard neoclassical account of rational choice and postwar North American consumer society. This biography reconstructs his personal and intellectual odyssey as he moved from Hungary to London to Stanford and Berkeley, California; details his personal and professional relationships; and explores the manner in which he selectively turned to other fields, including psychology, art, and aesthetics. The project also grasps the various levels, both scientific and personal, at which The Joyless Economy may be read and the several interpretations of his work by scholars, both during and after his lifetime.