How happy are we? Measuring happiness through the ages

daniel-sgroiDaniel Sgroi is Associate Professor of Economics and a theme leader of the ESRC-funded Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) at the University of Warwick. He is also lead author of the recent CAGE policy report Understanding Happiness, exploring how we can measure subjective wellbeing in the past using big data.

Today is the United Nations International Day of Happiness, first launched four years ago. It highlights happiness and wellbeing as important goals for developing societies – going beyond a narrow focus on a growing economy. Continue reading

Are we looking for happiness in all the wrong places? An academic’s role in ‘The Happiness Project’ by the Roundhouse

Gundi Knies is a Research Fellow at the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoc) and Understanding Society at the Institute for Social and Economic Research, and currently involved in an Arts & Science collaboration around young people’s happiness

Today is an anniversary! I’ve been involved in “The Happiness Project” by the Roundhouse in London for three years today. Anniversaries are a time to celebrate and to reflect on how well things are going.

So here goes.

I was first contacted by a member of the Roundhouse’s performing arts team: they had read my paper “Life Satisfaction and Material Well-being of Young People in the UK” after it was mentioned in the Guardian, and wanted me to feed into a project inspired by the 2007 UNICEF happiness and wellbeing report on young people. They planned to “create a show made by young people for young people”, and did this sound like something that I would be interested in taking part in?

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Making the world a happier place

Professor Lord Richard Layard directs the Wellbeing Programme at the ESRC Centre for Economic Performance, and has made major contributions on unemployment, inflation, inequality and post-Communist reform. Author of the influential book Happiness, he currently works on how to produce a happier society and advises the UK government on mental health policy.

Professor Lord Richard Layard

Why did you pursue an academic career?

I never meant to. I was teaching in a comprehensive school and going to evening classes at the London School of Economics (LSE). Through the LSE connection I was asked to be the research officer for the Robbins Committee (Committee on Higher Education, 1961), and after that I was offered a research job at LSE. Continue reading