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Wellbeing

Research theme

For behavioural science to help people live happier, healthier lives, we must have a good understanding of wellbeing.

Our research focuses on the causes and consequences of human wellbeing as they relate to human behaviour, and how insights from our understanding of wellbeing can be used to design better policies to improve our lives.

In pursuit of greater knowledge of human behaviour and how it can be effectively changed, understanding the causes and consequences of human wellbeing is crucial. Wellbeing plays a major role in our experience of the world and our interactions with it. It underpins many if not all of our behaviours. Experiencing higher wellbeing after a change in behaviour, for example, makes it more likely that people change their behaviour for good. Thus, understanding, measuring, and improving wellbeing and its causes, in particular mental health, social relations, or trust, are of the utmost importance. For behavioural science to help people live happier, healthier lives, we must have a good understanding of wellbeing.

In the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, researchers are working to help design and evaluate policies with wellbeing in mind. This relationship is bidirectional – how do policies shape our wellbeing, and how can our understanding of wellbeing help design better policies? Improved wellbeing is to the benefit of each individual as well as communities and societies more broadly – socially, economically, and politically.

Our researchers form one of the leading groups on wellbeing worldwide. Members of our group are at the forefront of developing new metrics and methods to put wellbeing into policy practice, with considerable impact around the world. Applying a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, our researchers are studying a wide range of topics, including the relationship between mental health and economic outcomes like unemployment, how the community in which we live affects our wellbeing and mental health, pro-social behaviour like volunteering, how our environment and environmental quality impact on wellbeing, non-cognitive skills and their relation to wellbeing and mental health, large societal events, the effects of COVID-19 on wellbeing, and many more.

Expertise

Below you can find experts, research and media focussed on the role of wellbeing in policy, economics and community health in variety of settings.

Experts

 

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Professor Liam Delaney

Professor of Behavioural Science

 

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Professor Paul Dolan

Professor of Behavioural Science

 

 

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Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch

Professor of Social Psychology

 

ChrisKrekel

Dr Christian Krekel

Assistant Professor in Behavioural Science

 

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Dr Laura M. Giurge

Assistant Professor in Behavioural Science

Selected publications

Giurge, L. M., & Woolley (2022) Working during non-standard work time undermines intrinsic motivation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

P. Dolan, C. Krekel, G. Shreedhar, H. Lee, C. Marshall and A. Smith (2021) Happy to help: The welfare effects of a nationwide micro-volunteering programme. CEP. 

Okoroji, C., Gleibs, I. H., & Jovchelovitch, S. (2020). Elite stigmatization of the unemployed: The association between framing and public attitudes. British Journal of Psychology, 112(1), 207-229. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12450

Mousteri, V., Daly, M., & Delaney, L. (2020). Underemployment and psychological distress: Propensity score and fixed effects estimates from two large UK samples. Social Science & Medicine, 244, 112641. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112641

Dolan, P., Kavetsos, G., Krekel, C., Mavridis, D., Metcalfe, R., Senik, C., Szymanski, S., & Ziebarth, N. R. (2019). Quantifying the intangible impact of the Olympics using subjective well-being data. Journal of Public Economics, 177, 104043. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2019.07.002

Mousteri, V., Daly, M., Delaney, L., Tynelius, P., & Rasmussen, F. (2019). Adolescent mental health and unemployment over the lifespan: Population evidence from Sweden. Social Science & Medicine, 222, 305-314. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.12.030

Dolan, P. (2019). Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life. London: Allen Lane.

Krekel, C., & Zerrahn, A. (2017). Does the presence of wind turbines have negative externalities for people in their surroundings? Evidence from well-being data. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 82, 221-238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2016.11.009

Daly, M., Delaney, L., Egan, M., & Baumeister, R. F. (2015). Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies. Psychological Science, 26(6), 709-723. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615569001

Dolan, P. (2014). Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life. London: Penguin.

White, M. P., & Dolan, P. (2009). Accounting for the Richness of Daily Activities. Psychological Science, 20(8), 1000-1008. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02392.x

Dolan, P., and Kahneman, D. (2008). Interpretations Of Utility And Their Implications For The Valuation Of Health. The Economic Journal, 118(525), 215-234. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2007.02110.x

Media

Films 

LSE Research for the World film: 'How to be Happy' with Paul Dolan. Watch the short film here.

LSE event podcast recordings

Why Aren't Policy-Makers and the Public Demanding That More Emphasis is Placed in Happiness? With Gus O'Donnell and Paul Dolan. December 2020 (LSE public event). Listen to the podcast recording on LSE Player here. 

Happy Ever After with Paul Dolan. 25 February 2019 (LSE public event and book launch). Watch the event on YouTube here.

News

Working and studying ‘out of hours’ can harm motivation (4 March 2022), LSE news. Read it here.

Volunteering in the NHS: Covid-19 Volunteer Responders Programme significantly increased volunteers' overall life satisfaction (May 2021), LSE news. Read it here.

'We need graphs for coronavirus misery as well as mortality' (25 April 2020)Liam Delaney, Paul Dolan. Irish Times. Read it here.

Blogs

'How a focus on wellbeing can help us make better policy decisions' (5 March 2021)Paul Dolan, Richard Layard, Gus O'Donnell, Liam Delaney, Christian Krekel, Jet Sanders, Celia Blanco-Jimenez, Kate Laffan, Georgios Kavetsos, Laura Kudrna. LSE COVID-19 blog. Read it here

'Are Happier People More Compliant? Evidence from Lockdowns' (24 September 2020), Christian Krekel, Sarah Swanke, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Daisy Fancourt. LSE COVID-19 blog. Read it here.

'The gig economy is taking a toll on UK workers’ mental health' (18 January 2020), Victoria Mousteri, Michael Daly, Liam Delaney. LSE Business Review blog. Read it here.