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photo: Binder Professor Martin Binder
Professor of Economics at Bard College, Berlin

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
I think we are actually making quite a bit of progress in understanding what policies can increase national wellbeing, at least on average. What we now should focus on are heterogeneity in the determinants of wellbeing to better understand who will profit more and who will profit less from such policies.Disagree

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
I think RCTs are a bit overhyped at the moment. Yes, they can show "what works here" (Cartwright/Hardie) but inferring that the same policy will work somewhere else can often be a bit of stretch as there are so many boundary conditions that might not be present in the somewhere else situation. RCTs are certainly useful but they are not a golden bullet...Neither agree nor disagree

Organisational structures on workers' wellbeing

January 2017
Employees in more hierarchical organisations have higher levels of wellbeing than those of flatter organisations.Response
Being one's own boss or working autonomously fulfills a deep human psychological need and is conducive to work and life satisfaction. If hierarchical organizations stifle individuals' autonomous organization of labor, this will impact negative on their well-being.Disagree strongly

Neither agree nor disagree

Wellbeing and Public Holidays

December 2016
Do you think that populations on average have higher wellbeing during major festive periods like Christmas?Response
I would expect any positive effect from a holiday period like Christmas to be small and dependent on whether one is connected to a social network of family and friends at the time. It probably also depends on whether we see this as an occasion to get a lot of presents (consumerist/materialist values aren't strongly conducive to SWB) or whether we think about others less fortunate at this time and send some money to charity or donate some of our time for a good cause as a Christmas present.Disagree

Do you think on balance that average wellbeing would rise if there were more mandatory public holidays in your country?Response