Frey, born in 1941, received his Lic. rerum politicarum (MA), University of Basle, 1964 Doctor rerum politicarum (summa cum laude; PhD in Economics), 1965 Habilitation, 1969. He is honorary doctor at two universities. Frey is Professor of Economics, University of Zurich since 1977 and head of the Institute of Empirical Economics at the University. Frey is also Research Director, CREMA – Center for Research in Economics Management and the Arts, University of Zurich.
Frey has written extensively on public choice and non-market economics including happiness and economics, motivation and knowledge transfer, and arts and economics.
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 (most of them in economics and a few in political science, sociology and psychology) among them the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Economic Journal, Journal of Law and Economics, American Political Science Review, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Public Choice,International Organization, Rationality and Society, Journal of Economic Psychology, Journal of Economic History, etc.