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photo: Easterlin Professor Richard Easterlin
Professor of Economics, University of Southern California

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
There is now clear evidence that welfare state policies increase well-being, as indexed by evaluative measures of SWB. Disagree strongly

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
We already have a fair amount of evidence. This would cost more than it would yield.Disagree

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
One's overall satisfaction with life depends much more on the things that relate to a person's foremost concerns, day after day: job and income security, family circumstances, health, type of work.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
Relationships, and especially family relationships, are of central importance to overall well-being.Agree

Organisational structures on workers' wellbeing

January 2017
Employees in more hierarchical organisations have higher levels of wellbeing than those of flatter organisations.Response
Job satisfaction tends to vary directly with occupation when the later are ranked by prestige status. There is more occupational heterogeneity in the hierarchical organization ane hence a wider disparity in job satisfaction.Disagree

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
If the goal is to improve the job satisfaction of employees, this does not seem like a high priority way to pursue it.Disagree

Wellbeing and Public Holidays

December 2016
Do you think that populations on average have higher wellbeing during major festive periods like Christmas?Response
Depends on the measure. If a measure of temporary mood, yes; if an evaluative measure of life circumstances, no.Neither agree nor disagree

Do you think on balance that average wellbeing would rise if there were more mandatory public holidays in your country?Response
If we're talking about evaluative measures --as we should be-- no. Disagree strongly