Richard Layard

Richard Layard
The London School of Economics and Political Science | LSE · Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

About

303
Publications
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20,619
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Additional affiliations
January 2001 - present
The London School of Economics and Political Science
Position
  • Managing Director

Publications

Publications (303)
Chapter
Governments in liberal democracies pursue social welfare, but in many different ways. The wellbeing approach instead asks: Why not focus directly on increasing measured human happiness? Why not try to improve people’s overall quality of life, as it is subjectively seen by citizens themselves? The radical implications of this stance include shifting...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 has infected millions of people and upended the lives of most humans on the planet. Researchers from across the psychological sciences have sought to document and investigate the impact of COVID-19 in myriad ways, causing an explosion of research that is broad in scope, varied in methods, and challenging to consolidate. Because policy and...
Article
Despite a wealth of research on its correlates, relatively little is known about how to effectively raise wellbeing in local communities by means of intervention. Can we teach people to live happier lives, cost-effectively and at scale? We conducted a randomised controlled trial of a scalable social-psychological intervention rooted in self-determi...
Article
Since the first confirmed case in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019, the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread quickly, infecting 165 million people as of May 2021. Since this first detection, research has indicated that people contracting the virus may suffer neurological and mental disorders and deficits, in addition to the respiratory and ot...
Article
A happy choice: a response to the responses - PAUL FRIJTERS, ANDREW E. CLARK, CHRISTIAN KREKEL, RICHARD LAYARD
Article
In this article, we lay out the basic case for wellbeing as the goal of government. We briefly review the history of this idea, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and was the acknowledged ideal of the Enlightenment. We then discuss possible measures on which a wellbeing orientation could be based, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the...
Chapter
This chapter takes a look at how working parents can affect their children, and how. Evidence from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) shows that, other things held constant (including income), mother's work has no marked effect, good or bad, on the emotional health of her children. However, the chapter goes further by expl...
Chapter
This has been a long project involving many members of the Wellbeing Programme at the Centre for Economic Performance in the London School of Economics. We are extremely grateful to Nele Warrinnier and Warn Nuarpear Lekfuangfu, who were key members in its earlier phase. We are also grateful to Stephen Machin, Andrew Steptoe, and Camille Lassale for...
Chapter
This chapter examines the character of the parents and how they relate to their child. It considers the emotional health, behavior, and intellectual development of children and the impacts the parents' behavior and mental illness have on these factors. Though the chapter is not comprehensive, it does offer a few conclusions for policy consideration...
Chapter
This chapter considers work and unemployment. Full-time workers spend at least a quarter of their waking life at work. But on average, they enjoy that time less than anything else they do. The worst time of all is when they are with their boss. Even so, people hate it even more if they are unemployed. This is not just because they lose money from b...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes the main findings on what determines happiness. These are expressed in numerical form, because there is no way to compare the importance of different things except by using numbers. The chapter's measure of happiness throughout is life-satisfaction, measured on a scale of 0 to 10. That is, like all other estimates in this bo...
Chapter
This chapter investigates the impact of the different schools and teachers in the Avon area on the outcomes of the children they taught. It begins by investigating the role of the whole school in considering what difference it makes which school a child goes to. Here, primary and secondary schools have major effects on the emotional well-being of t...
Chapter
This chapter demonstrates that policy analysis should be based on happiness as the measure of benefit (except where traditional methods actually work). It argues that this should be generally applied throughout the public services and by nongovernment organizations (NGOs). The chapter offers four key proposals. The first is that the goal of governm...
Chapter
This chapter argues that both physical and mental health are hugely important for an enjoyable life. Illnesses of either type can be devastating. But the chapter asserts that mental illness explains more of the misery in society than physical illness does, and more than either poverty or unemployment. It also explains more of the variation in life-...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the effects of family conflict on children. Break-ups and separations on an increased scale is a relatively modern phenomenon—one of the more important changes over the last forty years. The chapter considers what such circumstances mean for the children caught in the middle of conflict. The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents...
Chapter
This chapter turns to the Gallup World Poll to investigate the impacts of social norms and institutions upon a person's life-satisfaction. Social norms and institutions are public goods that affect all individuals living in a society. As such, their effects can only be studied by comparing life-satisfaction across societies, rather than across indi...
Chapter
This chapter considers how our early experience determines our emotional well-being as a child and how it affects the other key dimensions of our development as children. To answer these questions, the chapter turns to the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). This survey attempted to cover all children born in and around Bristo...
Chapter
This chapter shows that, while happiness is not the same with income, income still affects happiness. Indeed, the effect of income on happiness is one of the best-measured effects in all happiness research. It presents the evidence to this effect. Again, the chapter begins with evidence from the British Cohort Study, mostly cross-sectional. It then...
Chapter
Available at http://cep.lse.ac.uk/origins/onlinematerial.pdf • Descriptive Statistics (e.g., Table D1) Means, SDs, and Correlations • Full Tables —numbered as in text • Additional Tables and Figures (e.g., Table A1.1) • Annexes 1 Interpreting the statistics 2 Income and well-being. Others’ findings. 3a Education and well-being. Others’ findings....
Chapter
This chapter examines the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment most people gain from close personal relationships. Life-course data provide important evidence on this, although the chapter notes that for children, the question of close personal relationships is more nuanced. And as the chapter shows, human relationships at the most intimate level...
Chapter
This introductory chapter briefly describes the ways in which happiness and well-being can be laid out in quantitative terms. It argues that this endeavor is crucial both for individuals as well as for policy makers. Here, the chapter focuses on individual well-being over individual lifespan. In adulthood that is measured by life-satisfaction, and...
Chapter
This chapter investigates a set of “direct” benefits to education. Education provides an interesting and potentially enjoyable experience for students; it educates people as citizens and voters; it generates higher tax payments; it even reduces crime. And it provides for the individuals concerned a personal resource, interesting work, and additiona...
Book
What makes people happy? This book seeks to revolutionize how we think about human priorities and to promote public policy changes that are based on what really matters to people. Drawing on a range of evidence using large-scale data from various countries, the authors consider the key factors that affect human well-being, including income, educati...
Chapter
This chapter estimates the five sets of relationships discussed in the previous chapter, using two surveys. It first estimates relationships the first four sets, using the British Cohort Study data (BCS) on children born in 1970. Then the chapter estimates the fifth relationship, using data on the British cohort born mainly in the county of Avon in...
Article
A dedicated tax is the only way that we can be sure the government is reflecting public wishes, says Richard Layard, but John Appleby argues it would not protect funding from economic uncertainty
Article
Studies of deprivation usually ignore mental illness. This paper uses household panel data from the USA, Australia, Britain and Germany to broaden the analysis. We ask first how many of those in the lowest levels of life-satisfaction suffer from unemployment, poverty, physical ill health, and mental illness. The largest proportion suffers from ment...
Article
In a typical country, one in five people suffers from a mental illness, the great majority from depression or crippling anxiety. Mental illness accounts for half of all illness up to age 45 in rich countries, making it the most prevalent disease among working-age people; it also accounts for close to half of disability benefits in many countries. M...
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Full-text available
To tackle the huge problem of mental illness, England has launched a large programme of psychological therapy, which is being watched worldwide. The authors argue that it costs nothing, due to savings on welfare benefits and physical healthcare. The article is based on the recent book Thrive: The power of evidence-based psychological therapies (Lay...
Article
Studies of deprivation usually ignore mental illness. This paper uses household panel data from the USA, Australia, Britain and Germany to broaden the analysis. We ask first how many of those in the lowest levels of life-satisfaction suffer from unemployment, poverty, physical ill health, and mental illness. The largest proportion suffer from menta...
Article
Policy makers who care about well-being need a recursive model of how adult life-satisfaction is predicted by childhood influences, acting both directly and (indirectly) through adult circumstances. We estimate such a model using the British Cohort Study (1970). We show that the most powerful childhood predictor of adult life-satisfaction is the ch...
Article
They championed evidence-based therapies for depression and anxiety and showed that these can transform people's lives. Economist Richard Layard and psychologist David Clark tell Liz Else why their mental health mission has only just begun
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Full-text available
The English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative aims to make evidence-based psychological therapies for depression and anxiety disorder more widely available in the National Health Service (NHS). 32 IAPT services based on a stepped care model were established in the first year of the programme. We report on the reliable re...
Article
Full-text available
This lecture argues that mental health is a major factor of production. It is the biggest single influence on life satisfaction, with mental health eight years earlier a more powerful explanatory factor than current income. Mental health also affects earnings and educational success. But, most strikingly, it affects employment and physical health....
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Full-text available
Over the 70 years since his report we have made huge strides on all of these fronts, except at times unemployment. But there is still widespread misery in our society – and what surveys we have of happiness and misery suggest it has changed little since then. So what did Beveridge miss? Like so many of his contemporaries, he overlooked the human fa...
Book
Full-text available
This volume, prepared for the UN High-Level Meeting on Happiness and Well-Being, sponsored by the Government of Bhutan, April 2, 2012, presents and analyzes measures of subjective well-being for up to 150 countries, reviews the scientific support for these measures, and presents new results explaining differences in happiness among individuals and...
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Full-text available
http://issuu.com/earthinstitute/docs/world-happiness-report
Article
In the latest of CEP’s ‘big ideas’ series, Richard Layard outlines the development of the Centre’s research on what makes people happy and how society might best be organised to promote happiness.
Article
I want to argue that mental health is a key dimension of all our lives and at every age. Yet when the present welfare state was being designed this was far from people’s minds. In his famous report, LSE director William Beveridge identified 5 problems of society as the 5 great giants which needed to be slain. They were poverty, unemployment, poor e...
Book
Why is unemployment higher in some countries than others? Why does it fluctuate between decades? Why are some people at greater risk than others? Layard and Nickell have worked on these issues for thirty years. Their famous model, first published in 1986, is now used throughout the world. It asserts that unemployment must be high enough to reduce...
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Full-text available
The main proposals in this paper have a highly focussed aim: to prevent the continuation in Britain of an increasingly depressed group of under-skilled workers. The main intention is to ensure that all 16-19 year olds and as many adults as possible achieve at least Level 2 qualifications. (i) For 16-19 we should require traineeships for all young p...
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Full-text available
What is progress, and how should we measure the well-being of a population? The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has held two major conferences on the subject, and last year, President Sarkozy of France established a distinguished commission to report on the same questions ( 1 ). This major debate reflects the fact that higher...
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Full-text available
Recently the UK Government announced an unprecedented, large-scale initiative for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) for depression and anxiety disorders. Prior to this development, the Department of Health established two pilot projects that aimed to collect valuable information to inform the national roll-out. Doncaster and Newham...
Article
Do other peoples’ incomes reduce the happiness which people in advanced countries experience from any given income? And does this help to explain why in the U.S., Germany and some other advanced countries, happiness has been constant for many decades? The answer to both questions is ‘Yes’. We provide 4 main pieces of evidence. 1) In the U.S. Genera...
Article
Average unemployment (over the cycle) is determined by the supply-side features of the labour market. The most important issue is the way in which unemployed people are treated. That is what our research showed in the 1980s. The 1990s confirmed our predictions. Around 1990 most countries had a boom, but high vacancies were accompanied by ongoing hi...
Article
Average unemployment (over the cycle) is determined by the supply-side features of the labour market. The most important issue is the way in which unemployed people are treated. That is what our research showed in the 1980s. The 1990s confirmed our predictions. Around 1990 most countries had a boom, but high vacancies were accompanied by ongoing hi...
Article
Three points are crucial, and I would urge member states to consider them seriously. 1. We should measure progress in a way that can guide policy. This requires a single over- arching measure of how we are doing. The alternative is the easy option of saying that lots of things matter. But this does not help us resolve the policy trade-offs. 2. The...
Article
The findings of behavioural economics and happiness research pose serious challenges for public policy analysis. Key findings relate to•externality (people's happiness depends on what others have)•mistakes (which arise from ignorance or misforecasting of happiness), and•tastes (which are not exogenous but affected by public policy).In this special...
Article
The findings of behavioural economics and happiness research pose serious challenges for public policy analysis. Key findings relate to externality (people's happiness depends on what others have) mistakes (which arise from ignorance or misforecasting of happiness), and tastes (which are not exogenous but affected by public policy). In this special...
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Full-text available
This paper shows that increases in the minimum wage rate can have ambiguous effects on the working hours and welfare of employed workers in competitive labor markets. The reason is that employers may not comply with the minimum wage legislation and instead pay a lower subminimum wage rate. If workers are risk neutral, we prove that working hours an...
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Full-text available
This paper shows that increases in the minimum wage rate can have ambiguous effects on the working hours and welfare of employed workers in competitive labor markets. The reason is that employers may not comply with the minimum wage legislation and instead pay a lower subminimum wage rate. If workers are risk neutral, we prove that working hours an...
Article
In normative public economics it is crucial to know how fast the marginal utility of income declines as income increases. One needs this parameter for cost-benefit analysis, for optimal taxation and for the (Atkinson) measurement of inequality. We estimate this parameter using four large cross-sectional surveys of subjective happiness and two panel...
Article
A major purpose of schools must be to help develop good and happy people – especially at a time when growing numbers of children are suffering from emotional disturbance. Richard Layard argues that we need a new cadre of teachers specifically trained to teach values and the ways to happiness.
Article
The research agendas of psychologists and economists now have several overlaps, with behavioural economics providing theoretical and experimental study of the relationship between behaviour and choice, and hedonic psychology discussing appropriate measures of outcomes of choice in terms of overall utility or life satisfaction. Here we model the rel...
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Full-text available
The government is committed to improved access to psychological therapy. How big an expansion is necessary to meet the NICE guidelines on depression and anxiety, and how should it be organised? If you have schizophrenia or bipolar depression in Britain, you will generally get specialist help from the NHS.1 But only about 1% of the British populati...
Article
The research agendas of psychologists and economists now have several overlaps, with behavioural economics providing theoretical and experimental study of the relationship between behaviour and choice, and hedonic psychology discussing appropriate measures of outcomes of choice in terms of overall utility or life satisfaction. Here we model the rel...