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photo: Kapteyn Professor Arie Kapteyn
Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California

Closing the border can do more harm than good to national wellbeing.

April 2017
Wellbeing of EU citizens increases on average with free movement within the EU.Response
In itself removing restrictions tends to be welfare enhancing; there is a potential downside of increasing tension between natives and foreigners, but as the Brexit vote shows the people most exposed to non-nationals are most happy with free movementAgree strongly

The UK closing its borders for EU nationals who want to work in the UK after Brexit would harm both UK wellbeing and that of the rest of the EU.Response
My answer really follows from the previous one. Isolationism appears to be based mainly on fear; giving in to it feeds fear. Fear has a negative effect on wellbeingAgree strongly

Understanding the effect of policy on national wellbeing

March 2017
Despite dozens of years of research, we still know precious little about what policies increase national wellbeing.Response
this is by and large true, as the literature tends to generate fragmented and sometimes contradictory results. I do think it is pretty clear that health and economic security contribute to wellbeing and these are perfectly amenable for policy interventionsAgree

In order to find out what raises national wellbeing, we need to have thousands of randomised controlled trials in all major areas of national policy.Response
The great risk of doing that is produce endless cute results with very little hope for external validityDisagree strongly

Wellbeing Effects of Anonymous Donation of Eggs and Sperm

February 2017
Donating gametes (eggs, sperm) via clinics as anonymous donors is one of the highest return-to-effort things individuals can do to increase overall wellbeing.Response
I really don't know. this seems a matter of supply and demand; if there already is plenty of supply then being yet another donor does not necessarily contribute much. Also the effect of children on parents' happiness is somewhat debatable. See the paper by Deaton and StoneNeither agree nor disagree

The right of a child to know who their donor was when they turn 18 outweighs (in an overall wellbeing sense) the possibility that this right-to-know leads to a shortage of donors and reduces the number of donor-conceived children.Response
This seems a discussion about "rights" that one can disagree with. Disagree

Organisational structures on workers' wellbeing

January 2017
Employees in more hierarchical organisations have higher levels of wellbeing than those of flatter organisations.Response
I am partly basing my response on the Whitehall studies showing that health and life expectancy are related one's position in the hierarchy and the extent to which one can make one's own decisions. Stress in situations where one has little scope for personal actions is worse than 'good stress" where this can be used for forceful actionDisagree

Tilting the tax and subsidy mix in favour of more hierarchical organisations (in a revenue neutral manner) would probably improve the wellbeing of employees.Response
this follows from the previous commentDisagree

Wellbeing and Public Holidays

December 2016
Do you think that populations on average have higher wellbeing during major festive periods like Christmas?Response
Just google it and the New York Times comes up: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/12/23/why-arent-people-happier-during-the-holidays/we-are-happier-on-the-holidays :) But to be honest, I have not researched this. Agree

Do you think on balance that average wellbeing would rise if there were more mandatory public holidays in your country?Response
People tend to be happier during the weekend, so if we take an additional mandatory holiday as equivalent to an additional weekend day then indeed an extra public holiday would increase happiness.Neither agree nor disagree