My research

This page gives an overview of my published academic research (a full list of my academic publications can be found here or on google scholar)

The economy and well-being

An enduring question within subjective well-being research is will more money improve our well-being or buy us any happiness? Much of my own research has centred on understanding why, in spite of substantial evidence to suggest that money is relatively unimportant for our well-being we still act and behave as if it is important. Our mental and physical health, having stable work environments, social relationships, and our personalities, are much more strongly linked to higher well-being, but are we sacrificing these for higher incomes?

I have expressed some of my views on the money-wellbeing debate in the popular press. These views are based on my own academic research which has specifically shown that:

I have also explored how economic shocks have different and more serious impacts, on segments of the population. Specifically, how central bank interest rates have a negative mental health impact on those heavily indebted (download interest rates influence mental health paper) and that the effects of the Great Recession were concentrated on those that were unemployed, lost income, and were sick/disabled (download Great Recession paper).

Personality and Well-Being

I am also interested in understanding how personality relates to our well-being (see this summary paper of what personality is). Personality is consistently found to be one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of an individual’s well-being yet in economic research, where the focus is largely on how directly observable socio-economic events influence an individual’s well-being in general or on “average”, personality is largely ignored. The focus on the “average” however hides a substantial amount of variation in well-being reactions to these socio-economic events – some people may react positively to life events, whilst others may not. Much of our work has focused on establishing whether personality predicts how an individual might respond and also how personality might change. Specifically we have shown that:

Personality explains well-being changes following major life events:

Personality change:

Other research