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Impact

Current impact-generating research: Happiness & Productivity : Measuing Happiness in the Past

Earlier work that generated some media interest: Citations and the REF: The Desire to be Average : Power Laws and Tenure

Links: Publications : CV : Recent Events : Google Scholar Profile : EconPapers/RePEc : IDEAS : VoxEU : WRAP


Happiness & Productivity

Andrew Oswald, Eugenio Proto and Daniel Sgroi

  1. Background: Initiated in 2010 and still ongoing, this project seeks to understand the links between happiness and productivity in the workplace. In a series of laboratory experiments (involving more than 700 subjects) spanning several years we established a powerful causal link from happiness through to higher effort and productivity. The work has been presented many times outside of academia including to civil servants, consultants, policy-makers (nationally and internationally) and politicians, including a policy briefing supported by the Social Market Foundation in London in October 2015. We are also working with Aberdeen City Council later to see if we can put our ideas into practice including running a large-scale randomized control trial in the field. Our work has been discussed in more than 50 newspapers and blogs including the Economist (twice including a cover story), Observer, Times Higher and Businessweek, and was named one of Futurity.org's top 5 stories to celebrate Futurity's 5 year anniversary, and named No. 2 on their research of the year for 2014. The VoxEU article on our work has been read by over 40,000 people and the paper published in the Journal of Labor Economics in October 2015 has already been cited by other academic work more than 200 times.
  2. Publications:
    1. Happiness and Productivity, Journal of Labor Economics Volume 33, Issue 4: Pages 789-822, 2015 (lead article), with Andrew Oswald and Eugenio Proto. Online Abstract (IZA) and Seminar Slides.
    2. Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents?, Experimental Economics, Volume 15, Issue 1: Pages 1-23, 2012 (lead article), with Andrew Oswald and Eugenio Proto. Final Published Version (Springer).
  3. Non-technical summaries:
    1. Happiness and Productivity, ForumEPL, May 2016.
    2. The Happy-Productive Worker, IPA Bulletin, January 2016.
    3. Happiness & Productivity Policy Briefing, Social Market Foundation (Global Perspectives Series No. 4), October 2015.
    4. Whistling while you work: Happiness is good for productivity, British Politics and Policy, London School of Economics, July 2013.
    5. "Happiness economics" in reverse: Does Happiness Affect Productivity?, VoxEU, July 2010. Read by over 40,000 people.
    6. A New Happiness Equation: Worker + Happiness = Improved Productivity, Economic Research Institute Bulletin, University of Warwick, July 2010, with Andrew Oswald and Eugenio Proto.
  4. Press releases:
    1. Happiness & Productivity
    2. Parental Divorce 
  5. Selected events (outside academia):
    1. Short documentary on Youtube entitled The Science of Happiness references our work on happiness and productivity.
    2. Keynote address at the ThinkFM conference at the Barbican, London, May 2016.
    3. The Journal of Dental Technology has summarised and discussed my research on happiness and productivity in an article entitled Happy Technicians, April 2016.
    4. The Business in the Community/Mind report "Leading on Wellbeing: Transforming the Role of Line Managers" uses our research to suport a new blueprint for "unlocking employee mental wellbeing and productivity", February 2016.
    5. Interview by Reader's Digest (Canada) on the topic of "How to be a better co-worker", February 2016.
    6. Happiness & Productivity: A Policy Briefing, presented at the Social Market Foundation, London, October 2015.
    7. Happiness & Productivity, presentation to a delegation from the Treasury at Warwick, October 2015.
    8. Happiness & Productivity in Practice, presented to Abderdeen City Council, November 2015.
    9. Named No.2 by Futurity on their research of the year for in December 2014 and one of their top 5 stories to celebrate their 5 year anniversary, in September 2014.
    10. Happiness & Productivity, presented to the Government Economic Service at the Treasury, 2013.
    11. Subjective Wellbeing, Attitudes and Productivity, presented to the World Bank, 2013.
    12. How Subjective Wellbing Indices can inform Labor Policy, presented to the OECD, 2013.
  6. Well over 100 media and blog reactions: please see news & events for dozens of recent media reactions inlcuding reactions from Business Insider, Forbes and Fortune.
  7. Selected older media reactions:
    1. Work Happy, The City Magazine (October 2016).
    2. Google's Mantra to Keep Employees Happy and Productive, The Economic Times (October 2016).
    3. Creating A Happier Workforce for Higher Productivity in Afghanistan, Daily Outlook Afghanistan (July 2016).
    4. How CEOs Can Help Improve Productivity by Keeping Employees Happy, Chief Executive Magazine (July 2016).
    5. Creating a happier workforce for higher productivity in Myanmar, The Global New Light of Myanmar (July 2016).
    6. Happier Workers could be More Productive, Shanghai Daily (June 2016).
    7. Creating a Happier Workforce for Higher Productivity in Japan, Japan Today (June 2016).
    8. Training – an Employee or Corporate Benefit? Enterprise Times (June 2016).
    9. Creating Happier Workforce, The Korea Times (June 2016).
    10. Unhappy Workers Produce Less, Business Day (June 2016).
    11. Why Employers Should Pay Attention to the Financial Wellness of their Employees, Corporate Wellness Magazine (June 2016).
    12. Happier Workers Could be More Productive, China.org.cn (June 2016).
    13. Happy Working Boosts Productivity, Hong Kong Commerical Daily (June 2016, in Chinese).
    14. What Makes for Happy Employees (Without a Raise): Secrets Revealed, HR in Asia (June 2016).
    15. Why Chocoholics are more Productive, The Business Desk (May 2016).
    16. How to be a better co-worker, Reader's Digest Canada (February 2016, based on an interview).
    17. Il Denario Puo Comparae La Felicita, Insider Pro (November 2015, in Italian).
    18. Keeping up with the Karumes, The Economist (October 2015).
    19. Being happy at work really makes you more productive, Fortune (October 2015).
    20. Half of SMEs expect productivity to increase, HR Magazine (October 2015).
    21. Financial Education for Employees: The Business Benefits of Good Citizenship, HR Magazine (October 2015).
    22. Happy People Work Harder, Epoch Times. (September 2015).
    23. Are Happy Workers More Productive? Daily Telegraph (April 2015).
    24. Named No.2 by Futurity on their research of the year for 2014 (December 2014).
    25. Named by Futurity as one of their top 5 stories to celebrate their 5 year anniversary (September 2014).
    26. We Work Better When We're Happy, Futurity. (July 2014).
    27. Are You Happy at Work? The Daily Mail (March 2014).
    28. Happiness Leads to Increase in Producitivty by 12%, University Herald (March 2014).
    29. Happy People Work Harder, Medical Daily (March 2014).
    30. Google's Secret to Boosting Employer Productivity, Value Walk (March 2014).
    31. How Google Keeps its Employees Happy and Productive, Gadgets Now (March 2014).
    32. Age and Happiness, The Economist (December 2010, cover story). Version from the print edition: The U-Bend of Life.
    33. Happiness May Boost Productivity, PlanetMoney (August 2010).
    34. Happy People Really Do Work Harder, The Observer (July 2010).
    35. Parents' Divorce Doesn't Harm College-Age Kids, Businessweek (March 2010, now Bloomberg Business).
    36. University of Warwick - Surviving splitsville, Times Higher Education (March 2010).
    37. Students 'Able to cope well with Parents' Divorce', Coventry Telegraph (February 2010).
    38. University Students Normally Unscathed by Parental Divorce, Science Daily (February 2010).
    39. Parents' Divorce Doesn't Harm College-Age Kids, Health Magazine (February 2010).
  8. Selected older blog coverage:
    1. Why work culture directly impacts empoyee productivity, [Engage] The Employee Engagement Blog (October 2016).
    2. 7 reasons why fun in the office is the future of work, CIPHR All About People (October 2016).
    3. Tricks for a happier day at work, CareerBuilder (October 2016).
    4. Proven productivity boosters based on research, B2C (September 2016).
    5. Being happy at work improves productivity, Grid Work (September 2016).
    6. Improve Productivity by Investing in your Employees, Aepiphanni.com (August 2016).
    7. Recognizing Passion Means Creating Happiness, Indopositive (August 2016, in Indonesian).
    8. Raj at Work, Harvard Business Review Polska (August 2016, in Polish).
    9. Happiness Makes us More Productive...and vice versa, Life in the Balance at www.wholehealth.today (August 2016).
    10. Why, beyond Middle Age, People get Happier as they get Older, Dem Alter begegnen (August 2016).
    11. How to Nurture: 7 Key Elements of Employee Engagement, CIPHR Blog (July 2016).
    12. Employee Productivity, Happiness and Success, Survale (July 2016).
    13. Happy Employees are 12% more Productive at Work, Fastcompany.com (July 2016).
    14. Employee Productivity, Happiness and Success, HR.com (July 2016).
    15. Happy Employees Work Harder, Sizous (June 2016, in Dutch).
    16. 5 Simple Steps to Skyrocket your Career, CEO Stars (June 2016, in Indonesian).
    17. Happiness Makes People More Productive at Work, Prevencion Integral (June 2016, in Spanish).
    18. 10 Things to Keep Company Culture Cool, Calm and Cohesive, Iris (May 2016).
    19. Greater Happiness Leads to Greater Productivity, Business 2 Community (May 2016).
    20. Safeguarding Mobile Security while Keeping Employees Happy, dotnet (May 2016).
    21. Happy People are Productive People, eChangeGroup.com (May 2016).
    22. Corporate Wellbeing, Grow Your Own Happiness (May 2016).
    23. Safeguarding Mobile Security while Keeping Employees Happy, cloudstanding.co.uk (May 2016).
    24. How to be Happier at Work, Quality Progress (April 2016).
    25. Measuring the Quality of Jobs in OECD Countries, by Stefano Scarpetta, Sandrine Cazes, Andrea Garnero, VoxEU (April 2016).
    26. How to Kill Happiness at Work, Globoforce (April 2016).
    27. 3 effective ways to boost company morale, Inc. (February 2016).
    28. Why businesses should seriously consider offering financial education to their staff, Training Zone (February 2016).
    29. Happiness: Why it's your key to career success, Cheat Sheet (January 2016).
    30. Happy Workers are Productive Workers, 20 Something Finance (December 2015).
    31. 5 Ways to Stay Productive During the Holidays, Cheat Sheet (December 2015).
    32. The Heirarchy of Workplace Wellbeing, AXA (December 2015).
    33. Three BIG Scientifically Proven Ways Corporate Team Building Promotes Employee Happiness and Business Success, Terrapin Adventures. (December 2015).
    34. What Makes a Happy Employee, Workplace Focus (November 2015).
    35. Financial Education for Employees? Open University Business School (October 2015).
    36. Enfocarse en Fortalezas, Positive Pscyhology News Daily (October 2015, in Spanish).
    37. Happy Staff, A Pitch for Common Sense (October 2015).
    38. Happy People Make More Money, Daily as Fresh (October 2015).
    39. Happy People Earn More, Genius Beauty (October 2015).
    40. Cleanliness is next to Happiness and Productivity, First Impressions Janitorial (October 2015).
    41. How Being Happy Can Make You Better at Your Job, Chartered Management Institute (September 2015)
    42. The Key to Happiness, Productiviy and National Income, The Market Mogul (September 2015).
    43. Happiness Leads to Improved Productivity, Richmond Business Consulants (July 2015).
    44. Happy Employess are Twelve Percent More Productive, Business2Community (July 2015).
    45. Why Happy Employees are 12% more Productive, FastCompany (July 2015).
    46. In a Slump? Follow these Tips for a Happier Work Day, Career Builder (April 2015).
    47. Work Environments That Yield High employee Satisfaction, Humor at Work (January 2015).
    48. Employee Happiness: Why it Matters, QuickBooks (September 2014).
    49. Happy Workers are More Productive, Fact Co.EXIST (March 2014).
    50. Happiness Can Make People More Productive, What's On Xiamen (March 2014).
    51. Happiness Can Boost Employee Productivity By 10 Percent, Inc. (March 2014).
    52. Parents' Divorce Doesn't Harm College-Age Kids, HealthDay (February 2010).

Measuring Happiness in the Past

Thomas Hills, Eugenio Proto and Daniel Sgroi

  1. Background: Using the latest semantic techniques to extract sentiment from text for the millions of digitized books in the Google Books corpus, we develop a new proxy for national happiness. Our measure has the advantage of potentially going back centuries and therefore allows us to analyse the historical causes of happiness. We test that it correlates with reported happiness during the period when we have actual happiness data (post 1972) and it correlates very well. We use this new index to assess the impact of major world events for 6 countries (USA, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) going back to 1776.
  2. Research paper: Historical Analysis of National Subjective Wellbeing using Millions of Digitized Books, CESifo Working Paper No. 5906, May 2016, with Thomas Hills and Eugenio Proto. Earlier versions available as IZA Discussion Paper No. 9195 and CAGE Working Paper 236-2015.
  3. Non-technical summaries:
    1. LSE Business Review: Measuring happiness across the ages, July 2017.
    2. ESRC blog: How happy are we? Measuring happiness through the ages, March 2017.
    3. CAGE/SMF Policy Report: Understanding Happiness, January 2017.
    4. Press release on the CAGE/SMF Understanding Happiness Policy Report launch, January 2017.
    5. Two centuries of data reveal that health not wealth has always been the key to wellbeing, Warwick Economics Department, September 2016.
    6. Press release prepared for the European Economic Association conference 2016 (Geneva) press pack, August 2016.
    7. Historical analysis of national subjective wellbeing using millions of digitised books: Introducing the HPS Index, VoxEU, September 2015.
    8. Measuring historical happines through digitized books, IZA Newsroom, August 2015.
    9. Data science and the History of Subjective Wellbeing, Psychology Today, July 2015.
  4. Selected Events:
    1. The index is now listed in the World Database of Happiness based at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, September 2017.
    2. Daniel Sgroi gave the plenary address at the Office of National Statistics annual conference on the topic of measuring happiness in the past, February 2017.
    3. Daniel Sgroi was interviewed by 8 different radio stations about historical happiness: interviews on BBC Radio Five Live, talkRADIO, Radio Scotland, BBC Radio West Midlands, BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire, BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester, BBC Radio Wiltshire and Talk Radio Europe. More details on the CAGE page.
    4. Daniel Sgroi was interviewed by the Daily Mail and Telegraph on the topic of histrical happiness, January 2017.
    5. Daniel Sgroi was a panel member and gave a brief talk about historical happiness at the CAGE Policy Briefing national launch event on "Understanding Happiness" at the British Academy, London, January 2017 and at the follow-up launch event at the University of Warwick, February 2017. YouTube video of the event at Warwick.
    6. Daniel Sgroi presented Historical Analysis of National Subjective Wellbeing using Millions of Digitized Books at the Centre for Experimental Social Science, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, November 2016.
    7. Daniel Sgroi interviewed by the Daily Telegraph newspaper on the topic of twentieth century happiness in the UK, resulting in the online piece in The Telegraph How the Sexual Revolution and money in the pocket didn't make Britain happy and the print version in The Daily Telegraph Not so Swinging Sixties: proof that sex and money doesn’t make us happy, August 2016.
    8. Daniel Sgroi presented a 6 minute radio ducumentary on historical happiness on the BBC Radio 4 PM programme (and was interviewed live on BBC Radio Wales). You can hear the talk about happiness via a direct link to the mini-documentary here or from 51:40 to 57:20 on the PM programme (24/08/16) here.
    9. Daniel Sgroi interviewed by the The Daily Mail on measuring happiness over time, reported as Forget the age of plenty, we were happier in the 1700s!
    10. Historical Analysis of Wellbeing, presented at the European Economic Association conference in Geneva, August 2016.
    11. Historical Analysis of Policy and Economic Influence on National Subjective Wellbeing Using Millions of Digitized Books, presented at the Cambridge Data for Policy Workshop, University of Cambridge, 2016.
    12. Special session on language economics arranged for the 20th Annual Conference of the Society for Institutional & Organizational Economics in Paris, June 2016.
    13. Historical Analysis of National Subjective Wellbeing using Millions of Digitized Books, presented at the Royal Economic Society Annual Conference, University of Sussex, Brigthon, March 2016.
    14. How Happy were your Great Grandparents? Measuring wellbeing in the past using Google Books, keynote address at the Warwick Economics Summit, February 2016.
    15. Historical Analysis of National Subjective Wellbeing using Millions of Digitized Books, presented to the Government Economic Service at the Treasury, October 2015.
    16. Historical Analysis of National Subjective Wellbeing using Millions of Digitized Books, presented to the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, September 2015.
  5. Selected media reactions:
    1. Daniel Sgroi interviewed on Talk Radio Europe by Giles Brown on The Daily programme (Fenruary 2017).
    2. Daniel Sgroi interviewed on BBC Radio Wiltshire (February 2017).
    3. Daniel Sgroi interviewed on talkRADIO by Julia Hartley-Brewer (January 2017).
    4. Daniel Sgroi interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live (January 2017).
    5. Daniel Sgroi interviewed on Radio Scotland (January 2017).
    6. Britain's Happiest Year, The Daily Mail (January 2017, based on an interview with Daniel Sgroi).
    7. Harold Macmillan was Right, The Telegraph (Janury 2017, based on an interview with Daniel Sgroi).
    8. We've Never Had it so Good, The Times (January 2017).
    9. 1957 was the Happiest Year, Daily Express (January 2017).
    10. Daniel Sgroi interviewed on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire. More details on the CAGE page (January 2017).
    11. Daniel Sgroi interviewd on BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester (January 2017).
    12. Back to the Future, The Guardian (January 2017).
    13. 1957 Declared as Britain's Happiest Year, Eastern Daily (January 2017).
    14. That Was the Year That Was, Norwich Evening News (January 2017).
    15. 1957 Really Was the Happiest Year Ever, Scottish Daily Mail (Janury 2017).
    16. Love, Marriage...1957 Truely Was a Diamond Year, Scottish Daily Mail (January 2017, print version).
    17. A Word in Favour of Books, Northern Echo (January 2017).
    18. 1957 was the Happiest Year in the Twentieth Century, WB News (January 2017).
    19. Happiness in Britain Peaked in 1957, Metro (January 2017).
    20. Warwick Research Shows 1957 was the Happiest Year in Britain, The Tab (January 2017).
    21. 1957 was Britain's Happiest Year in the Last Century, Red (January 2017).
    22. 1957 was the Happiest Year of the last Century, Nederlands Dagblad (January 2017, in Dutch).
    23. 1957 Happiest Year of the Twentieth Century, LocalGov (January 2017)v.
    24. Victorians were Happier than we are Today, The Week (January 2017).
    25. Happiness in Britain Peaked in 1957, Ooyuz (January 2017).
    26. Why 1957 was Britain's Happiest Year, Mogaznews En (January 2017).
    27. Britain Never Happier than 1957, Acken Blog (January 2017).
    28. Britain has never been Happier than it was in 1957, YahooNews (January 2017).
    29. 1957 was the Happiest Year of the Twentieth Century, Report UK (January 2017).
    30. Happiness myth of the swinging sixties, PressReader.com (September 2016).
    31. The PM programme (BBC Radio 4), via direct link to a clip here or as part of the programme (from 51:40 to 57:20) here (August 2016).
    32. How the Sexual Revolution and money in the pocket didn't make Britain happy, The Telegraph online version (August 2016, based on an interview).
    33. Not so Swinging Sixties: proof that sex and money doesn’t make us happy, The Daily Telegraph print version (August 2016, based on an interview).
    34. Forget the age of plenty, we were happier in the 1700s! The Daily Mail (August 2016, based on an interview).
    35. Happier in the era of workhouses, The Sun (August 2016).
    36. You've never had it so good, BT.com (August 2016).
    37. Forget the age of plenty, Mogaznews En (August 2016).
    38. Warwick event aims to learn lessons of history, Times Higher Education (February 2016, based on an interview).
    39. L'indice di Felicita' e' nella Lingua, Rai News (in Italian, September 2015).
    40. Come Funziona l'Indice di Felicita, Rai News (in Italian, September 2015).
    41. Economistas intrépidos detrás de la contabilidad de largo plazo, La Nacion (in Spanish, September 2015).
    42. Before 1980s Americans were as unhappy as they had been since before the civil war then something happened, American Enterprise Forum (September 2015).

Citations and the REF

Andrew Oswald and Daniel Sgroi

  1. Background: We developed a way of applying Bayesian methods to allow citations data and journal quality to be combined to form a more rounded view of the quality of an academic submission for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) the system used by the UK government to rate academic departments. We followed this up with columns in the Times Higher Education in print and online. The methods we suggest are now being used by at least one UK university to plan its next REF application.
  2. Research paper: How Should Peer Review Panels Behave? Economic Journal, Volume 123, Issue 570: Pages 255-278, 2013, with Andrew Oswald. Final Published Version (Wiley).
  3. Non-technical summaries:
    1. A Bayesian approach to the REF: finding the right data on journal articles and citations to inform decision-making, British Politics and Policy, London School of Economics, December 2013.
    2. Journal quality and citations: Why economists should practice what they preach, VoxEU, November 2013.
    3. REF panel must blend citation and publication data, Times Higher Education, September 2013.
    4. How a clergyman’s insights can answer panellists’ prayers, Times Higher Education (print version), 19 September 2013.

The Desire to be Average

Eugenio Proto and Daniel Sgroi

  1. Background: Working with Eugenio Prot in the laboratory, we discovered that subjects seem to have a strong desire to perceive themselves as average. Taller, shorter, fatter, thinner, more right or left wing, happier or sadder people all think of themselves are more typical than is the case and those (inaccurate) beliefs also influence how they see the population as a whole.
  2. Research papers: Biased Beliefs and Imperfect Information, IZA Discussion Paper No. 8858, 2015, with Eugenio Proto. An earlier version entitled Self-centered Beliefs: An Empirical Approach was Warwick Economic Research Papers No. 978.
  3. Non-technical summaries:
    1. Individuals tend to see themselves as more average than is the case, British Politics and Policy, London School of Economics, March 2015, with Eugenio Proto.
    2. The desire to be average, Economic Research Institute Bulletin, University of Warwick, Spring 2014, with Eugenio Proto.
  4. Blog entry about this paper in "Stumbling and Mumbling".
  5. Featured in The Human Zoo (BBC Radio 4): “Isn’t everyone a bit like me?” as part of the University of Warwick Festival of the Imagination (and also covered in the Coventry Telegraph here).

Power Laws and Managerial Tenure

Toke Aidt, Bernard Leong, Bill Saslaw and Daniel Sgroi

  1. Background: Working with a diverse team of physicists (Bill Saslaw and Bernard Leong) and fellow economist Toke Aidt, we developed a model of managerial tenure (applied to Football Managers) using the notion of "self-organised criticality" which has also been used to explain everything from the run up to revolutions, evolution and how galaxies form. We found that mangerial tenure follows a power law, which among other things suggests that randomness is more improtant than people may realise.
  2. Research paper: A Power Law Distribution for Tenure Lengths of Sports Managers, Physica A, Volume 370, Issue 2: Article 44, 2006, with Toke Aidt, Bernard Leong and William Saslaw. Online Abstract, Final Published Version (ScienceDirect).
  3. Press Release
  4. Selected media reactions:
    1. Wanted: Candidates for BBC's Personality of the Year Award, The Observer.
    2. Power Trip, Plus Magazine.
    3. Power Laws Can Forecast Team Managers' Tenure Length, MathDL.