Viewing archives for Dr. Christian Krekel

Happiness predicts compliance with preventive health behaviours during Covid-19 lockdowns

Christian Krekel, Sarah Swanke, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve and Daisy Fancourt

To combat the public health crisis of Covid-19, governments and public health officials have been asking individuals to substantially change their behaviours for prolonged periods of time. Are happier people more willing to comply with such measures? Using independent, large-scale surveys covering about 79,000 adult respondents across 29 countries, including longitudinal data from the UK, we find that life satisfaction predicts compliance with preventive health behaviours during Covid-19 lockdowns, especially the number of weekdays stood at home (β = 0.02, p < 0.01). The association is stronger for higher levels of life satisfaction (e.g. β = 0.19, p < 0.01, 7 on a 0-to-10 scale). Lower life satisfaction, on the contrary, predicts lower compliance (e.g. β = 0.02, p > 0.10, 2 on a 0-to-10 scale). We explore risk-avoidance and pro-social motivations for this relationship, and find suggestive evidence that people who are older or have certain medical preconditions seem to be behave in line with risk-avoidance, whereas motivations of people who are less at risk of Covid-19 seem more mixed. While it is difficult to estimate the relationship between life satisfaction and compliance behaviour due to potential confounders and unobserved heterogeneity, our findings suggest that life satisfaction is important, both for complying with preventive health measures and as a policy end in itself.

Dr. Christian Krekel

Behavioural Science, LSE

Back to Edgeworth? Estimating the Value of Time Using Hedonic Experiences

Europe Dominated the Happiest Countries in the World List. What About the United States?

USA Today

Finland was voted the happiest country in the world for the fifth straight year, and it is joined by other European countries in the annual World Happiness Report.

A publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the 10th edition of the report published on Friday ranked 146 countries in their overall happiness. Researchers say past data has looked at how citizens’ trust in government and large institutions has played a major factor in a country’s level of happiness. 

“The World Happiness Report is changing the conversation about progress and wellbeing. It provides important snapshots of how people around the world feel about the overall quality of their lives,” Christopher Barrington-Leigh, professor at McGill University in Quebec and a researcher involved in the report, said in a statement

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Linking Subjective Wellbeing and Pro-environmental Behaviour: A Multidimensional Approach

Christian Krekel and Alberto Prati

In recent years, policy-makers have taken steps towards acknowledging the importance of mental states when appraising citizens’ wellbeing on the one side and the urgent challenge of shifting towards a more ecological society on the other. Previous work has established an encouraging positive link between these two seemingly unrelated notions, subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour. This chapter offers an overview of the progress made to date and underlines that both subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour can be structured according to different dimensions that interact in various ways. In this chapter, we empirically investigate some dimensions of both subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour that have been overlooked so far. To do so, we use newly available data collected by the French National Statistical Institute and study seven dimensions of subjective wellbeing as well as attributions of political responsibility and prioritisation about green policies. In doing so, we move beyond the often unidimensional paradigm which associates subjective wellbeing with life satisfaction and pro-environmental behaviour with consumption. Our multidimensional approach offers new insights into which dimension of subjective wellbeing is most predictive of which pro-environmental behaviour and how happy and unhappy citizens have different attitudes about environmental policies.

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A Local Community Course That Raises Wellbeing and Pro-sociality: Evidence from a Randomised Controlled Trial

C. Krekel, J.-E. De Neve, D. Fancourt, and R. Layard

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-determination theory and aimed at raising the wellbeing and pro-sociality of the general adult population. The manualised course (“Exploring What Matters”) is run by non-expert volunteers (laypeople) in their local communities and to date has been conducted in more than 26 countries around the world. We found that it has strong, positive causal effects on participants’ subjective wellbeing and pro-sociality (compassion and social trust) while lowering measures of mental ill health. The impacts of the course are sustained for at least two months post-treatment. We compare treatment to other wellbeing interventions and discuss limitations and implications for intervention design, as well as implications for the use of wellbeing as an outcome for public policy more generally.

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Taking a Wellbeing Years Approach to Policy Choice

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Andrew E Clark, Christian Krekel, Richard Layard, & Gus O’Donnell


Decisions about lockdown should consider people’s wellbeing as a guide

Every day, policy makers must decide whether a policy is desirable. They do so by examining its impact on a range of outcomes. But the problem is how to aggregate these disparate outcomes. For example, as covid-19 cases rise again, some lockdown measures are gradually being reintroduced across the UK. These policy choices will lead to outcomes that are good (such as fewer deaths from covid-19, less commuting, better air quality) and some that are bad (unemployment, income losses, loneliness, domestic abuse). How can policy makers aggregate these disparate effects in order to arrive at an overall assessment? To do so requires a “common currency” with which to measure all the effects. The currency we propose is the change in years of human wellbeing resulting from the policy.

At present, the most used currency is money. This is the method used in traditional cost-benefit analyses. Each of the various outcomes is valued by the amount of money that those affected would be willing to pay in order to produce that outcome. For many of the most important outcomes, however, including health and unemployment, it is difficult…

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When to Release the Lockdown? A Wellbeing Framework for Analysing Costs and Benefits

Richard Layard, Andrew Clark, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Christian Krekel, Daisy Fancourt, Nancy Hey & Gus O’Donnell


In choosing when to end the lockdown, policy-makers have to balance the impact of the decision upon incomes, unemployment, mental health, public confidence and many other factors, as well as (of course) upon the number of deaths from COVID-19. To facilitate the decision it is helpful to forecast each factor using a single metric. We use as our metric the number of Wellbeing-Years resulting from each date of ending the lockdown. This new metric makes it possible to compare the impact of each factor in a way that is relevant to all public policy decisions.

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What Makes For A Good Job? Evidence Using Subjective Wellbeing Data

C Krekel, G Ward & J-E De Neve

This book presents a panoramic view of the implications from Richard Easterlin’s groundbreaking work on happiness and economics. Contributions in the book show the relevance of the Easterlin Paradox to main areas, such as the relationship between income and happiness, the relationship between economic growth and well-being, conceptions of progress and development, design and evaluation of policies for well-being, and the use of happiness research to address welfare economics issues.  This book is unique in the sense that it gathers contributions from senior and top researchers in the economics of happiness, whom have played a central role in the consolidation of happiness economics, as well as promising young scholars, showing the current dynamism and consolidation of happiness economics.

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Employee Wellbeing, Productivity, and Firm Performance

Christian Krekel, George Ward & Jan-Emmanuel De Neve


Does higher employee wellbeing lead to higher productivity, and, ultimately, to tangible benefits to the bottom line of businesses? We survey the evidence and study this question in a meta-analysis of 339 independent research studies, including the wellbeing of 1,882,131 employees and the performance of 82,248 business units, originating from 230 independent organisations across 49 industries in the Gallup client database. We find a significant, strong positive correlation between employees’ satisfaction with their company and employee productivity and customer loyalty, and a strong negative correlation with staff turnover. Ultimately, higher wellbeing at work is positively correlated with more business-unit level profitability.

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