Jan-Emmanuel De Neve's research while affiliated with University of Oxford and other places

Publications (34)

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We use self-determination and world view defense theories to explicate the psychological roots of identitarian voting in recent US, UK, and EU elections. We test our theory using the 2016 US election as a case study, data from a representative sample of nearly half a million Americans, and a measure of racial animus derived from Google search data....
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There is a vast literature on the determinants of subjective wellbeing. International organisations and statistical offices are now collecting such survey data at scale. However, standard regression models explain surprisingly little of the variation in wellbeing, limiting our ability to predict it. In response, we here assess the potential of Mach...
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Background To date, public health policies implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic have been evaluated on the basis of their ability to reduce transmission and minimise economic harm. We aimed to assess the association between COVID-19 policy restrictions and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods In this longitudinal analysis, we co...
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We conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of educational attainment (EA) in a sample of ~3 million individuals and identify 3,952 approximately uncorrelated genome-wide-significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A genome-wide polygenic predictor, or polygenic index (PGI), explains 12–16% of EA variance and contributes to risk predi...
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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...
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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...
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This paper explores the empirical links between achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and subjective well-being. Globally, we find that in terms of well-being, there are increasing marginal returns to sustainable development. Unpacking the SDGs by looking at how each SDG relates to well-being shows, in most cases, a strong positive cor...
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Factors beyond a person's control, such as demographic characteristics at birth, often influence the availability of rewards an individual can expect for their efforts. We know surprisingly little how such differences in opportunities impact human motivation. To test this, we designed a study in which we arbitrarily varied the reward offered to eac...
Preprint
Around the world, governments have been asking their citizens to substantially change their behaviour for a prolonged period of time, by practising physical distancing and staying at home, to contain the spread of Covid-19. Are happier people more willing to comply with these measures? Using three independent surveys covering about 119,000 adult re...
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A rapidly growing literature has attempted to explain Donald Trump's success in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as a result of a wide variety of differences in individual characteristics, attitudes, and social processes. We propose that the economic and psychological processes previously established have in common that they generated or elector...
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How do income and income inequality combine to influence subjective well-being? We examined the relation between income and life satisfaction in different societies, and found large effects of income inequality within a society on the relationship between individuals’ incomes and their life satisfaction. The income–satisfaction gradient is steeper...
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We study what makes for a good job, by looking at which workplace characteristics are conducive or detrimental to job satisfaction. Using data from 37 countries around the world in the 2015 Work Orientations module of the International Social Survey Programme, we find that having an interesting job and good relationships at work, especially with ma...
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Decisions about paying taxes represent one of the most common moral quandaries faced by citizens. In the present research, we argue that taxpayer compliance can be raised by increasing “voice”: allowing taxpayers to express non-binding preferences about the way their taxes are used. We first test for effects of preference expression on tax complian...
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The Global Happiness Policy Report is produced by the Global Happiness Council and contains papers by expert working groups on happiness for good governance. Our chapter on work and well-being provides evidence and policy recommendations on best practices to promote happiness and well-being in the workplace. The first Global Happiness Policy Report...
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The share of income held by the top 1 percent in many countries around the world has been rising persistently over the last 30 years. But we continue to know little about the relationship between the rising top income shares and human wellbeing. Using data from 24 countries and years ranging from 2005 to 2013 in the Gallup World Poll and the World...
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Are individuals more sensitive to losses than gains in terms of economic growth? We find that measures of subjective well-being are more than twice as sensitive to negative as compared to positive economic growth. We use Gallup World Poll data from over 150 countries, BRFSS data on 2.3 million US respondents, and Eurobarometer data that cover multi...
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Intuitively, how you feel about potential outcomes will determine your decisions. Indeed, an implicit assumption in one of the most influential theories in psychology, prospect theory, is that feelings govern choice. Surprisingly, however, very little is known about the rules by which feelings are transformed into decisions. Here, we specified a co...
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Governments try to discourage risky health behaviours, yet such behaviours are bewilderingly persistent. We suggest a new conceptual approach to this puzzle. We show that expected utility theory predicts that unhappy people will be attracted to risk-taking. Using US seatbelt data, we document evidence strongly consistent with that prediction. We ex...
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A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of educational attainment was conducted in a discovery sample of 101,069 individuals and a replication sample of 25,490. Three independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are genome-wide significant (rs9320913, rs11584700, rs4851266), and all three replicate. Estimated effects sizes are small (coefficie...
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Two experiments show that eliciting taxpayer preferences on government spending -- providing taxpayer agency -- increases tax compliance. We first create an income and taxation environment in a laboratory setting to test for compliance with a "lab tax.'' Allowing a treatment group to express non-binding preferences over tax spending priorities lead...

Citations

... Nordic countries are known for their extensive state welfare system, which has been built to provide decent living conditions for all residents regardless of personal socioeconomical status. Finland was ranked the first in the current World Happiness Report, and also all other Nordic countries are in the top ten (Helliwell et al., 2022). ...
... Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease spread around the world, the shift in the focus of the health system and the pandemic prevention policies have brought dramatic changes in people's lives, including social isolation, unemployment or excessive COVID-19 media exposure [11][12][13]. ...
... Genome-wide association (GWA) methods can be used to assess correlations across millions of DNA variants in the genome with any trait and these data can be used to create a polygenic score for the trait that aggregates these weighted associations into a single score for each individual (Plomin, 2018). The most powerful polygenic scores in the behavioural sciences are derived from GWA analyses for the general cognitive traits of g (Savage et al., 2018) and educational attainment (Lee et al., 2018;Okbay et al., 2022). It is possible to use these genomic data for g and educational attainment to explore the extent to which they can predict SCA independent of g and educational attainment even when SCA were not directly measured in GWA analyses, an approach called GWAS-by-subtraction (Demange et al., 2021), which uses genomic structural equation modeling (Grotzinger et al., 2019). ...
... The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is related to multiple stressors that impact the wellbeing of whole populations (Aknin et al., 2022). In addition to the burden of a COVID-19 infection, the lockdowns had a drastic impact on everyday life. ...
... The impact of pessimism (when measured in terms of life satisfaction, and as estimated by OLS, FE, entropy balanced FE, and dynamic System GMM) is greater than that of optimism. 16 This is reminiscent of loss aversion, whereby individuals are affected by losses to a greater degree than they are by gains, a phenomenon that has received support in a well-being context (Boyce et al. 2013b;De Neve et al. 2018). 17 This latter study employs three different datasets and finds, overall, an asymmetric effect on life satisfaction between recessions and periods of economic growth consistent with loss aversion. ...
... However, harms to wellbeing may persist for specific groups, such as immunocompromised people, those with extended symptoms of COVID-19 [25], healthcare staff who have witnessed mortality among patients and colleagues [26], those at risk of domestic abuse [13], and children whose specialised educational needs have been neglected. These groups may represent part of the coronavirus' negative longer-term legacy [27] and planning to address the ongoing needs of the groups most impacted by the pandemic has begun, as evidenced by the COVID-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Action Plan [28]. This report highlights policy actions that are planned to support such at-risk groups through investment within the health and education systems and beyond. ...
... The COVID-19 pandemic has led to high morbidity and mortality rates as well as many changes and complications in daily life [1] . To reduce the prevalence of coronavirus disease worldwide, governments urge their citizens to keep their physical distance and stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 [2][3][4] . Nations have implemented locked downs to enforce social distancing as a measure to curb the spread of the infection [5] . ...
... Table 3 is a summary of the reported SWB, and it shows that people in Tokyo feel less happy than citizens in New York and London, especially in AWB. It has been known that Japanese citizens report relatively low happiness in the previous studies (Helliwell, Layard, and Sachs 2019;Helliwell et al. 2020;Helliwell et al. 2021), and the result of the present study seems consistent with them. Table 4 is a summary of the annual frequency of leisure activities. ...
... This WELLBY metric is then used in an equity-weighted cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analysis, allowing for gains and losses in WELLBYs to count for more when they occur to the worst off. 2 WELLBYs will remind the reader of the more well-known QALY (quality-adjusted life year) metric, widely used in policy evaluation in public health (although, interestingly, as Dolan points out, little-used so far during the pandemic). But QALYs are restricted to the evaluation of health-related outcomes, whereas WELLBYs are intended to be, in line with the guiding thought of the proposal at hand, more comprehensive. ...
... Precisely, the well-being dimension highlighted in this paper mainly refers to subjective well-being (SWB) since the measurement of objective well-being has been included in the sustainability dimension as in SDG3 [16]. The empirical links between SDGs and SWB have been discovered in Ref. [44], indicating that SDGs can be either positively or negatively correlated to SWB. From this point of view, shortterm sustainable development needs certain trade-offs and each SDG has variance in its contribution to SWB. ...