From January 14th to16th 2016 the international Conference “Economics, Health and Happiness” organized by the Department of Business Economics, Health & Social Care of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland, HEIRS (Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations) and SSPH+ (Swiss School of Public Health), took place at the Campus of Trevano.
The event was attended by 150 academics and researchers belonging to different areas (economics, sociology, psychology, medicine, public health) and from more than 20 countries, such as Britain, Canada, Japan, India and the United States.
Not only the interdisciplinary perspective of the conference didn’t arouse divisions and rivalries between different scientific approaches, but has also generated great enthusiasm in scientists: in fact through dialogue between the humanities and social sciences it is possible to aspire to a richness of views needed to point out universal phenomena such as the well-being and health.
Individual well-being is under pressure nowadays as people are becoming increasingly exposed to many sources of stress. Changes in socio-demographic (i.e. population aging) and epidemiological trends (with the increase in chronic diseases), and changes in labor force participation patterns (especially for women), affect family and inter-personal relationships. In addition to this, the retrenchment of the welfare state and the recent economic recession have contributed to reducing the resources available to families and individuals. The existing literature on health and happiness has generally shown the complexity of the etiological model underlying both trends. As well as ordinary economic goods, social and relational factors are also crucial in determining an individual’s well-being. Genetic predisposition and genetically shaped features (such as personality traits) may also account for individual differences in health and happiness. Several individual and contextual factors affect both happiness and health, and it would be interesting to examine the similarities/differences in the relationships between these determinants and health/happiness. The conference aims to stimulate and expand research on the determinants of health and happiness, and to foster the comprehension of how the effects of these determinants are heterogeneous across social groups.