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About the Author(s)


John F. Helliwell, a long-time NBER research associate, is senior fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and co-director of CIFAR's Program on Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being. He is professor emeritus of economics at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia.

Helliwell's recent books include Well-Being for Public Policy, with Ed Diener, Richard Lucas, and Ulrich Schimmack, 2009; International Differences in Well-Being, edited with Diener and Daniel Kahneman, 2010; and World Happiness Report for 2012, 2013, and 2015, all edited with Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs. The latter three volumes were published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Research Network; the series received the 2014 Award for the Betterment of the Human Condition from the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies.

Helliwell is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer of the Order of Canada. For more information, go to


1. R. A. Easterlin, "Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence," In P. A. David and M. W. Reder, eds., Nations and Households in Economic Growth: Essays in Honor of Moses Abramovitz, New York, New York: Academic Press, 1974, pp. 89-125.   Go to ⤴︎
2. J. F. Helliwell, "Empirical Linkages between Democracy and Economic Growth," NBER Working Paper 4066, May 1992, and British Journal of Political Science, 24(2), 1994, pp. 225-48.   Go to ⤴︎
3. J. F. Helliwell and R. D. Putnam, "Economic Growth and Social Capital in Italy," Eastern Economic Journal, 21(3), 1995, pp. 295-307; and J. F. Helliwell "Economic Growth and Social Capital in Asia," NBER Working Paper 5570, February 1996, and in R. G. Harris, ed., The Asia-Pacific Region in the Global Economy: A Canadian Perspective, Calgary, Canada: University of Calgary Press, 1996, pp. 21-42.   Go to ⤴︎
4. J. F. Helliwell, "How's Life? Combining Individual and National-Level Variables to Explain Subjective Well-Being," NBER Working Paper 9065, July 2002 and in Economic Modelling, 20(2), March 2003, pp. 331-60.   Go to ⤴︎
5. J. F. Helliwell and C. P. Barrington-Leigh, "How Much is Social Capital Worth?" NBER Working Paper 16025, May 2010, and in J. Jetten, C. Haslam, and S. A. Haslam, eds., The Social Cure: Identity, Health and Well-Being, London, United Kingdom: Psychology Press, 2012, pp. 55-71.   Go to ⤴︎
6. J. F. Helliwell and H. Huang, "How's Your Government? International Evidence Linking Good Government and Well-Being," NBER Working Paper 11988, January 2006, and British Journal of Political Science 38(4) , 2008, pp. 595-619.   Go to ⤴︎
7. J. F. Helliwell and H. Huang, "Well-Being and Trust in the Workplace," NBER Working Paper 14589, December 2008, and Journal of Happiness Studies, 12(5), May 2011, pp. 747-67.   Go to ⤴︎
8. J. F. Helliwell and R. D. Putnam, "The Social Context of Well-Being," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences, 339(1499), 2004, pp. 1445-56.   Go to ⤴︎
9. E. Durkheim, Le Suicide. tude de Sociologie, Paris, France: Félix Alcan, 1897. See also the English translation Suicide: A Study in Sociology [1897] by J.A. Spaulding and G. Simpson, Glencoe Ill., Free Press, 1951.   Go to ⤴︎
10. J. F. Helliwell, "Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?" NBER Working Paper 10896, November 2004, and Social Indicators Research, 81(3), May 2007, pp. 455-96.   Go to ⤴︎
11. J. F. Helliwell and S. Wang, "Trust and Well-Being," NBER Working Paper 15911, April 2010, and International Journal of Wellbeing, 1(1), January 2011, pp. 42-78.   Go to ⤴︎
12. J. F. Helliwell and C. P. Barrington-Leigh, "Measuring and Understanding Subjective Well-Being," NBER Working Paper 15887, April 2010, and Canadian Journal of Economics 43(3), August 2010, pp. 729-53.   Go to ⤴︎
13. C. P. Barrington-Leigh and J. F. Helliwell, "Empathy and Emulation: Life Satisfaction and the Urban Geography of Comparison Groups," NBER Working Paper 14593, October 2008. See also J. F. Helliwell and H. Huang, "How's the Job? Well-Being and Social Capital in the Workplace," NBER Working Paper 11759, November 2005, and Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 63(2), 2010, pp. 225-28.   Go to ⤴︎
14. J. F. Helliwell, "Life Satisfaction and Quality of Development," NBER Working Paper 14507, November 2008. Forthcoming in Policies for Happiness, Oxford University Press, edited by S. Bartolini, E.Bilancini, L. Bruni and P. Porta.   Go to ⤴︎
15. J. F. Helliwell, C. P. Barrington-Leigh, A. Harris and H. Huang, "International Differences in the Social Context of Well-Being," NBER Working Paper 14720, February 2009, and in J. F. Helliwell, E. Diener and D. Kahneman, eds., International Differences in Well-Being, New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, pp. 291-350.   Go to ⤴︎
16. J. F. Helliwell and S. Wang, "Weekends and Subjective Well-Being," NBER Working Paper 17180, July 2011, and Social Indicators Research, 116(2), April 2014, pp. 389-407.   Go to ⤴︎
17. See Table 2.1 of J. F. Helliwell and S. Wang, "World Happiness: Trends, Explanations and Distribution," in J. F. Helliwell, R. Layard and J. Sachs, eds., World Happiness Report 2013, New York, New York: United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, September 2013.   Go to ⤴︎
18. J. F. Helliwell and H. Huang, "New Measures of the Costs of Unemployment," NBER Working Paper 16829, February 2011, and in Economic Inquiry, 52(4), 2014, pp. 1485-1502. This paper shows that the spillover well-being losses of local unemployment on those still employed are in aggregate larger than the individual costs for the unemployed themselves.   Go to ⤴︎
19. J. F. Helliwell, "Institutions as Enablers of Wellbeing: The Singapore Prison Case Study," International Journal of Wellbeing, 1(2), 2011, pp. 255-65.   Go to ⤴︎
20. J. F. Helliwell, H. Huang, S. Grover and S. Wang, "Empirical Linkages Between Good Government and National Well-Being," NBER Working Paper 20686, November 2014.   Go to ⤴︎
21. L. B. Aknin, C. P. Barrington-Leigh, E. Dunn, J. F. Helliwell, R. Biswas-Diener, I. Kemeza, P. Nyende, C. E. Ashton-James, M. Norton, "Prosocial Spending and Well-Being: Cross-Cultural Evidence for a Psychological Universal," NBER Working Paper 16415, September 2010, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), April 2013, pp. 635-52.   Go to ⤴︎
22. L. B. Aknin, G. Mayraz, and J. F. Helliwell, "The Emotional Consequences of Donation Opportunities," NBER Working Paper 20696, November 2014.   Go to ⤴︎
23. S. Grover and J. F. Helliwell, "How's Life at Home? New Evidence on Marriage and the Set Point for Happiness," NBER Working Paper 20794, December 2014. Go to ⤴︎

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