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This theme investigates the intricate relationship between wellbeing and the economy.

Our research explores how wellbeing is shaped by expectations, institutions, economic shocks and gender and race divisions, and identifies interventions that promote wellbeing and productivity.

Theme leaders

Picture of Sonia Bhalotra

Sonia Bhalotra

Sonia is Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick

Picture of Natalia Zinovyeva

Natalia Zinovyeva

Natalia is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick.

Current and future research

The spectrum of wellbeing includes happiness, job satisfaction, life satisfaction and physical and mental health. We want to identify interventions that leverage synergies between wellbeing and productivity to improve the lifecourse and intergenerational trajectories of both. To do this, we use linked administrative data and primary purpose-built data.

To isolate causality from correlation we analyse policy experiments and implement randomized control trials and survey and laboratory experiments. We consistently seek to understand the mechanisms driving any causal association as this helps finetune and target policy.

Among individual-level barriers we consider stigma and self-image concerns; the family-level risk factors we consider include maternal depression and domestic violence; school-level risk factors include testing regimes and teacher competencies, the institutions we consider include mental health treatment protocols and physician prescribing styles, child custody and foster care.

We have created a network of researchers on mental health. We hold a day workshop every year, aiming to create a forum for exchange, collaboration and feedback. Our theme launch workshop will be held in January 2024.

Research highlights


Treating maternal depression. Sonia Bhalotra explains how cognitive behavioural therapy can help mothers invest more time and money in their children .

Forthcoming Event

Lecture: Evidence on the Treatment of Maternal and Child Mental Disorders.

Professor Sonia Bhalotra (University of Warwick) and Professor Siobhan O’Neill (Ulster University and NI Mental Health Champion) will be speaking at a public event at Queen’s University, Belfast.

This lecture will discuss interventions which may help children and mothers with mental disorders and potentially improve further life-course outcomes including female empowerment, parenting decisions and children’s educational outcomes.

Date: April 28, 2023

Location: Conferences Rooms 1 & 2, Riddel Hall, 185 Stranmillis Road, Belfast, BT9 5EE

Time: 11:00 – 14:00

Click here for more information