PS466      Half Unit

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Paul Dolan QUE.3.08


This course is available on the MPA in European Policy-Making, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Psychology of Economic Life, MSc in Social Policy (Research), MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning), MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology, MSc in Social and Public Communication and Master of Public Administration. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and subject to the size of the room that is allocated for it.

This is a capped course.  In teaching week 1 places will be allocated to students from the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science on a first come first served basis.  At the start of week 2 any remaining places will be allocated to students from other departments, again on a first come first served basis.

Course content

This course aims to introduce students to the main concepts and tools of the science of happiness. To achieve this aim, the course is based around ten lectures covering: 1) what is wellbeing?; 2) research on happiness; 3) evaluations of happiness; 4) experiences of happiness; 5) adaptation and attention; 6) mistakes about happiness; 7) happiness by design; 8) valuing non-market goods using preferences; 9) valuing non-market goods using happiness; 10) happiness as a (the?) policy objective.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

There are ten topics, and the seminars allow for in depth discussion and analysis of the issues raised in the lectures Formative coursework.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay (1000 words) in the LT.

Indicative reading

Clark, A, Frijters, P. Shields, M. (2007) Relative income, happiness and utility: an explanation for the Easterlin paradox and other puzzles. Journal of Economic Literature, 4695-144.

Kahneman, D. Krueger, A. Schkade, D. Schwarz, N. Stone, A. (2004) Toward national well-being accounts. American Economic Review, 94(2), 429-434.

Dolan P. Happiness by design: Finding pleasure and purpose in everyday life, Penguin 2016. 

Wilson, T. Gilbert, D. (2003) Affective forecasting. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 35, p345-411.

Dolan P and Kahneman D, Interpretations of utility and their implications for the valuation of health, Economic Journal., 118 (525), 215–234, 2008.


Essay (100%, 2500 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information