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Staff Biography

[Photo: Paul DOLAN] Professor Paul DOLAN
Associate - Wellbeing
Tel:  0207 955 7237
Email: P.H.Dolan@lse.ac.uk
Room/Desk: LSE  OLD 2.38

Personal WebSite WWW

Expertise: field experiments; happiness; public policy; well-being behavioural economics


Paul is Professor of Behavioural Science and Director of the Executive MSc Behavioural Science at the LSE. He is a health economist turned behavioural scientist working at the intersection of economics and psychology, with a bit of philosophy thrown in. His academic career was forged in the North of England at the Universities of York, Newcastle and Sheffield. He was then a Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University with Daniel Kahneman before coming home to London, first at Imperial College and then at the LSE.

Current Areas of Research:

The three main themes of Paul's work are as follows: 1. Developing measures of happiness and subjective wellbeing that can be used in policy and by individuals looking to be happier. He wrote the questions that are currently being used by the Office for National Statistics in the UK to monitor national wellbeing.

2. Considering ways in which the lessons from the behavioural sciences can be used to understand and change individual behaviour, and to add to the evidence base in this regard. He was an author of the MINDSPACE report for the UK Cabinet Office.

3. Using lab and field experiments to bring together (1) and (2) above.


  • 2002 Philip Leverhulme Prize for contribution to health economics

Selected Publications:

CEP Publications

CEP Discussion Paper
The Host with the Most? The Effects of the Olympic Games on Happiness Paul Dolan, Georgios Kavetsos, Christian Krekel, Dimitris Mavridis, Robert Metcalfe, Claudia Senik, Stefan Szymanski and Nicolas R. Ziebarth
July 2016
Paper No' CEPDP1441:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I30; I31; I38; L83; Z20; Z28

Tags: subjective wellbeing; life satisfaction; happiness; olympic games; natural experiment

CEP Discussion Paper
Without My medal on My Mind: Counterfactual Thinking and Other Determinants of Athlete Emotions Paul Dolan, Chloe Foy, Georgios Kavetsos and Laura Kudrna
June 2016
Paper No' CEPDP1436:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D60; I31

Tags: counterfactual thinking; close calls; relative status; happiness; olympic games

CEP Discussion Paper
Would You Choose to be Happy? Tradeoffs between Happiness and the Other Dimensions of Life in a Large Population Survey Matthew D. Adler, Paul Dolan and Georgios Kavetsos
August 2015
Paper No' CEPDP1366:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D6; H00; I00; I31

Tags: happiness; subjective well-being; preferences

CEP Discussion Paper
Because I'm Worth It: A Lab-Field Experiment on the Spillover Effects of Incentives in Health Paul Dolan and Matteo M. Galizzi
July 2014
Paper No' CEPDP1286:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: C91; C93; D03; I10

Tags: incentives in health; spillover effects; licensing; hidden costs of incentives

CEP Discussion Paper
Looking Ahead: Subjective Time Perception and Individual Time Discounting W. David Bradford, Paul Dolan and Matteo M. Galizzi
January 2014
Paper No' CEPDP1255:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D1; D10; D91

Tags: time preferences; time perception; hyperbolic discounting

CEP Discussion Paper
Neighbors, Knowledge, and Nuggets: Two Natural Field Experiments on the Role of Incentives on Energy Conservation Paul Dolan and Robert Metcalfe
June 2013
Paper No' CEPDP1222:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D01; D03; D83; Q41

Tags: social norms; financial incentives; natural field experiments; energy consumption

CEP Discussion Paper
Happy Talk: Mode of Administration Effects on Subjective Well-Being Paul Dolan and Georgios Kavetsos
July 2012
Paper No' CEPDP1159:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D60; I3; Z18

Tags: subjective well-being; happiness; survey mode

CEP Discussion Paper
A Step towards Valuing Utility the Marginal and Cardinal Way Paul Dolan, Daniel Fujiwara and Robert Metcalfe
July 2011
Paper No' CEPDP1062:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: A10; D6; D61; H41; I31

Tags: subjective well-being; utility; happiness; multicollinearity; income; non-market goods

CEP Special Report
Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures Paul Dolan, Richard Layard and Robert Metcalfe
March 2011
Paper No' CEPSP23:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)
CEP Discussion Paper
Comparing Willingness-to-Pay and Subjective Well-Being in the Context of Non-Market Goods Paul Dolan and Robert Metcalfe
October 2008
Paper No' CEPDP0890:
Read Abstract | Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: D61; D62; H23; Q51; C21

Tags: willingness to pay; preferences; life satisfaction; subjective well-being; nonmarket goods