Bruno Frey

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Bruno Frey 2010

Bruno S. Frey (born 4 May 1941 in Basel, Switzerland) is a Swiss economist and visiting professor for Political Economy at the University of Basel. Frey's research topics include Political economy and Happiness economics, with his published work including concepts derived from Psychology, Sociology, Jurisprudence, History, Arts, and Theology.

Career and academic positions[edit]

Frey studied economics at the University of Basel and at the University of Cambridge, obtaining a doctorate in economics in 1965. From 1969 to 2010 Frey was an associate professor of economics at the University of Basel, from 1977 to 2012 a professor of economics at the University of Zurich, and since 1969 has held editor positions at Kyklos, a Swiss journal on political economy. Since 2004 Frey has been a director of research for the Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).[1] Starting from 2010 until 2013, Frey was appointed to the Warwick Business School in the role of a Dinstinguished Professor of Behavioural Science.[2]

Frey was appointed to the Copenhagen Consensus expert commission in 2004, alongside four Nobel Prize winners. The main goal of this commission was to assess priorities for addressing the main challenges facing humanity including hunger, AIDS, water access, trade barriers, corruption, and global warming.[3]

In July 2011, the University of Zurich established a commission to investigate allegations of publication misconduct (self-plagiarism) by Frey and his co-authors. In October of the same year the commission reported that Frey had committed misconduct, namely self-plagiarism.[4] In July 2012, the Faculty of Business, Economics and Management at the University of Zurich decided to not extend the employment contract Frey had after having become emeritus professor.

In 2012, the government of Bhutan appointed Frey to an international group of experts to investigate "a new development paradigm designed to nurture human happiness and the wellbeing of all life on earth."[5]


According to the RePEc-Ranking from October 2015, he is listed as the 14th most cited European economist.[6] Additionally, the Swiss newspaper, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, publishes regularly a rating measuring the academic success and the public perception in the media and politics of economists. In this rating, he was appointed as the 3rd most influential economist in Switzerland in 2014 and 2015.[7]

In a recent publication from Miha Dominko and Miroslav Verbič titled "The Economics of Subjective Well-Being: A Bibliometric Analysis" and published in the Journal of Happiness Studies in 2019, the authors examined the development of subjective well-being research. Their result from Table 3. "50 most cited articles in the economics of subjective well-being research" B. S. Frey and A. Stutzer's article "What can economists learn from happiness research?" was placed on the very first place.[8]


According to "Economists’ Impact Ranking" (Ökonomen-Einfluss-Ranking) in NZZ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) of September 21, 2019, Bruno S. Frey achieved Rank 4 in Switzerland (in terms of research output: Rank 2) and according to "Germany's most influential Economists" in F.A.Z (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) of September 21, 2019: Rank 5 in Germany.[9][10] In Handelsblatt’s “Economics Ranking 2019", September 16, 2019, he was placed in terms of "lifetime achievement" on the 1st Rank.[11]

Published work[edit]

Frey's published research has included topics related to behavioral economics (including motivational crowding effects[12][13][14][15]), the economics of awards,[16][17] political economics,[18] the economics of happiness,[19][20] the effects of democracy upon society,[21][22][23] corporate governance,[24] community enterprises,[25] and the economics of war.[26][27]

Frey is author of more than a dozen books in English and/or German (including a number of translations into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese) and more than 300 articles in professional academic journals.[28][29]

Concerning the role of direct democracy, he developed (together with Reiner Eichenberger) a functionally oriented form of federalism called Functional Overlapping Competing Jurisdiction (FOCJ). He considers both direct democracy and federalism as trend-setting institutions of the future.

Frey has also contributed to the organization of theaters, operas, and museums, as well as the return on investment in works of art. He finds that the latter are less financially rewarding compared to other investments. Such investments are nevertheless made because a psychological return also takes place in the process.[30] According to the economics publication database IDEAS, Frey is a world leader in research in the field of cultural economics.[31]

As a further contribution to cultural economics, Bruno S. Frey has published a book entitled "Venice is Everywhere". The phenomenon of "overtourism" is treated as a central theme. In this context, economic aspects such as externalities or behavioral incentives and their role for the institutional framework are discussed. In addition, Frey (with Andre Briviba) has published two academic papers on the topic (Revived Originals - A proposal to deal with cultural overtourism; A policy proposal to deal with excessive cultural tourism).[32][33]


During 2010 and 2011 Frey, with co-authors Benno Torgler and David Savage, published four articles concerning the Titanic disaster in four different journals. Concerning these articles, in 2011 Frey and his co-authors were accused of self-plagiarism.[34][35][36] On 3 May 2011 David Autor, editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, wrote a public letter[37] to Frey claiming "very substantial overlap between these articles and your JEP publication. Indeed, to my eye, they are substantively identical." Pointing out that the other articles were not cited, Autor further wrote that "your conduct in this matter [is] ethically dubious and disrespectful to the American Economic Association, the Journal of Economic Perspectives and the JEP's readers." In a public response Frey accepted theses accusations and offered his apologies,[37] writing, "[i]t was a grave mistake on our part for which we deeply apologize. It should never have happened. This is deplorable."

Academic honours[edit]

Selected books[edit]

  • Frey, Bruno S., 1972. Umweltökonomie. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 1978. Modern Political Economy. Halsted Press, Wiley, New York.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 1983. Democratic Economic Policy. A theoretical introduction. Martin Robertson, Oxford.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 1984. International Political Economics. Basil Blackwell, Oxford und New York.
  • Frey, Bruno S. and Werner W. Pommerehne, 1989. Muses and Markets. Explorations in the Economics of the Arts. Basil Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 1992. Economics as a Science of Human Behaviour. Towards a New Social Science Paradigm. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston/Dordrecht/London.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 1997. Not just for the money. An economic theory of personal motivation. E. Elgar, Cheltenham.
  • Frey, Bruno S. and Reiner Eichenberger, 1999. The New Democratic Federalism for Europe. Functional, Overlapping and Competing Jurisdictions. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 2000. Arts & Economics. Analysis & Cultural Policy. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 2001. Inspiring Economics: Human Motivation in Political Economy. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, Mass.
  • Frey, Bruno S. and Alois Stutzer, 2002. Happiness and economics. How the economy and institutions affect well-being. Princeton University Press, Princeton (N.J.).
  • Frey, Bruno S., 2004. Dealing with Terrorism: Stick or Carrot. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., Cheltenham, UK and Nothhampton, Mass.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 2008. Happiness: A Revolution in Economics. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA und London, England 2008.
  • Frey, Bruno S., and Jana Gallus, 2017. Honours versus money. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Frey, Bruno S., and David Iselin, 2017. Economic Ideas You Should Forget. Springer International Publishing.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 2018. Economics of Happiness. Springer International Publishing.
  • Frey, Bruno S., 2019. Economics of Art and Culture. Springer International Publishing.
  • Frey, Bruno S., and Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2019. Economic Ideas You Should Read and Remember. Springer International Publishing

Selected articles[edit]

  • How Government Bond Yields Reflect Wartime Events: The Case of the Nordic Market (with Daniel Waldenström) In: Sovereign Debt: From Safety to Default (Robert W. Kolb, ed.), 2011, Wiley, Hoboken N.J., pp 279–286 (Part V: Historical Perspectives).
  • Motivation and Awards (mit Jana Gallus) In: The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behaviour, 2nd edition, ed. Alan Lewis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2018, Part VII – New Horizons, pp 697–712.
  • Economics and Well-Being In: The SAGE Handbook of Personality and Individual Differences, eds. Virgil Zeigler-Hill and Todd K. Shackelford, SAGE Publication Ltd., London, 2018, Volume 3 (Applications of Personality and Individual Differences, Part III (Personality in the Workplace), pp 552–567.
  • Cooperatives Instead of Migration Partnerships (with Margit Osterloh) In: Analyse & Kritik, 2018, 40(2), pp 201–225.
  • A Pragmatic Approach to Migration (Reply to comments re. Cooperatives Instead of Migration Partnerships), (with Margit Osterloh) In: Analyse & Kritik, 2018, 40(2), pp 329–336.
  • Public Choice and Happiness (with Alois Stutzer) In: The Oxford Handbook of Public Choice, Vol. 1. Roger D. Congleton, Bernard Grofman, Stefan Voigt (eds). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019, pp 779–795.
  • Commitment to Pay Taxes: Results from Field and Laboratory Experiments (Ann-Kathrin Koessler, Benno Torgler, Lars P. Feld) In: European Economic Review 115, June 2019, pp 78–98.
  • Volksvertreter per Los – Können Zufallsverfahren das Regierungshandeln verbessern? In: zfo – Zeitschrift Führung+ Organisation 3/2019, pp 175–178,
  • Migration Policy – What can we Learn from Cooperatives? (with Margit Osterloh) In: Althammer Jörg, Neumärker Bernhard, Nothelle-Wildfeuer Ursula (eds) (2019). Solidarity in Open Societies. Springer VS, Wiesbaden, Chapter 2: Applications, pp 267–282, (online first 8 June 2019) 22 July 2019.
  • Political Economy of Statistics: Manipulating Data (2020). SSRN
  • with Andre Briviba: Revived Originals – A proposal to deal with cultural overtourism (2020). Tourism Economics.
  • Festivals. Edward Elgar Publishing. Handbook of Cultural Economics (2020).
  • Happiness Policy: Technocratic or Democratic? University of California Press (2020).
  • with Anthony Gullo: Sic transit gloria mundi: What remains of famous economists after their deaths? Springer (2020).
  • (with Margit Osterloh): How to avoid borrowed plumes in academia. North-Holland (2020).
  • with Lasse Steiner, Lisa Leinert: Economics, Religion and Happiness. Springer (2020).


  1. ^ "CREMA". CREMA - Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts. CREMA Vermögensverwaltung & Research GmbH. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Warwick business school archive".
  3. ^ "Bruno Frey | Copenhagen Consensus Center". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  4. ^ University of Zurich ad hoc commission report about academic misconduct by Bruno Frey
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ RePEc Ranking: Top 12.5% authors in Europe.
  7. ^ Jürg Müller. "Welche Ökonomen in der Schweiz den Ton angeben | NZZ". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  8. ^ Dominko, Miha; Verbič, Miroslav (1 August 2019). "The Economics of Subjective Well-Being: A Bibliometric Analysis". Journal of Happiness Studies. 20 (6): 1973–1994. doi:10.1007/s10902-018-0022-z. ISSN 1573-7780. S2CID 149834955.
  9. ^ F.A.Z. "Die Tabelle: Deutschlands einflussreichste Ökonomen 2019". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  10. ^ Stefan Häberli / Philip Küng (Grafik). "Ökonomen-Ranking der NZZ 2019: Die komplette Rangliste". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Handelsblatt-VWL-Ranking 2019: VWL-Rangliste: Praxisnahe Forschung setzt sich durch". (in German). Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  12. ^ Frey, Bruno S., and Reto Jegen. "Motivation crowding theory." Journal of economic surveys 15.5 (2001): 589–611.
  13. ^ for example: Osterloh, Margit, and Bruno S. Frey. "Motivation, knowledge transfer, and organizational forms." Organization science 11.5 (2000): 538–550.
  14. ^ Feld, Lars P., and Bruno S. Frey. "Trust breeds trust: How taxpayers are treated." Economics of Governance 3.2 (2002): 87–99.
  15. ^ or even more broadly: Frey, Bruno S. "A constitution for knaves crowds out civic virtues." The Economic Journal 107.443 (1997): 1043–1053.
  16. ^ „Honours and Money.The Economics of Awards“, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2017.
  17. ^ Bruno S. Frey and Susanne Neckermann "Prices and Awards" in Elgar, Edward. "Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise." Beiträge zur aktuellen Wirtschaftspolitik No 2013 (2013): 16.
  18. ^ Beat Kappeler (Hrsg.). Was vermag Ökonomie? Silvio Borner, Bruno S. Frey, Kurt Schiltknecht zu wirtschaftlichem Wert, Wachstum, Wandel und Wettbewerb. Zürich: Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung. S. 29 (2002)
  19. ^ Frey, Bruno S., and Alois Stutzer. "What can economists learn from happiness research?" Journal of Economic Literature 40.2 (2002): 402–435.
  20. ^ Stutzer, Alois. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 54.1 (2004): 89–109.
  21. ^ Frey, B. S. (1997). A constitution for knaves crowds out civic virtues. The Economic Journal, 107(443), 1043–1053.
  22. ^ Feld, L. P., & Frey, B. S. (2002). Trust breeds trust: How taxpayers are treated. Economics of Governance, 3(2), 87–99.
  23. ^ Frey, B. S., Stutzer, A., & Benz, M. (2001). Trusting Constitutions. Économie publique/Public economics, (07).
  24. ^ Frey, B. S., and M. Osterloh. "Stop tying pay to performance. The evidence is overwhelming: It doesn’t work." Harvard Business Review (2012): 1403–1404.
  25. ^ Frey, Bruno S., and Margit Osterloh. "Yes, managers should be paid like bureaucrats." Journal of Management Inquiry 14.1 (2005): 96–111.
  26. ^ Frey, Bruno S., and Heinz Buhofer. "Prisoners and property rights." The Journal of Law and Economics 31.1 (1988): 19–46.
  27. ^ Frey, Bruno S., and Marcel Kucher. "History as reflected in capital markets: the case of World War II." The Journal of Economic History 60.02 (2000): 468–496.
  28. ^ "Bruno S. Frey". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  29. ^ "Bruno S. Frey". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  30. ^ Bruno S. Frey. Arts & Economics: Analysis & Cultural Policy. Springer, Heidelberg 2003, ISBN 3-540-67342-3
  31. ^ Ranking im Bereich „Cultural economics“ von IDEAS (englisch)
  32. ^ Frey, Bruno S.; Briviba, Andre (3 April 2021). "A policy proposal to deal with excessive cultural tourism". European Planning Studies. 29 (4): 601–618. doi:10.1080/09654313.2021.1903841. hdl:10419/246014. S2CID 233175836.
  33. ^ Frey, Bruno S.; Briviba, Andre (2021). "Revived Originals – A proposal to deal with cultural overtourism". Tourism Economics. 27 (6): 1221–1236. doi:10.1177/1354816620945407. S2CID 225413005.
  34. ^ Shea, Christopher (13 July 2011). "Economist Slammed for 'Concurrent Publications'". The Wall Street Journal.
  35. ^ "A summary of the Bruno Frey affair", Olaf Storbeck,, 2011/07/07 Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 25 January 2013
  36. ^ Storbeck, Olaf (7 July 2011). "Starökonom schreibt bei sich selbst ab". Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  37. ^ a b "Correspondence". Journal of Economic Perspectives. 25 (3): 239–240. 2011. doi:10.1257/jep.25.3.239.
  38. ^ "Raymond Vernon Memorial Award". Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management. Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  39. ^ "Fellows - The Royal Society of Edinburgh". RSE - The Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Royal Society of Edinburgh. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  40. ^ "About". ACEI. Association for Cultural Economics International. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  41. ^ "Röpke-Preis für Zivilgesellschaft". Liberales Institut. Liberales Institut. Retrieved 4 June 2019.

External links[edit]