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Are you happy while you work?


  • Alex Bryson
  • George MacKerron


Happiness surveys typically ask people to say how they feel about their life experiences in retrospect, but smartphone technology makes it possible to collect responses on wellbeing 'in the moment'. The authors use this new 'Mappiness' data source to question whether we really are happy while we work.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Bryson & George MacKerron, 2013. "Are you happy while you work?," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 390, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepcnp:390

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew J. Oswald & Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi, 2015. "Happiness and Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 789-822.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March.
    3. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
    4. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-141, May.
    5. Andrew E. Clark & Richard Layard & Claudia Senik, 2012. "The causes of happiness and misery," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00846583, HAL.
    6. Nicholas Bloom & James Liang & John Roberts & Zhichun Jenny Ying, 2015. "Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 165-218.
    7. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    8. Dolan, Paul & Layard, Richard & Metcalfe, Robert, 2011. "Measuring subjective well-being for public policy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 35420, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Helliwell, John & Layard, Richard & Sachs, Jeffrey, 2012. "World happiness report," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47487, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Dr Alex Bryson, 2012. "Well-being, Health and Work," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 387, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    11. Blanchflower, David G; Oswald, Andrew, 2011. "International Happiness," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 39, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. repec:nsr:niesrd:387 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Paul Dolan & Richard Layard & Robert Metcalfe, 2011. "Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures," CEP Special Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Happiness, work & productivity
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-20 19:58:10
    2. Happiness vs options
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-27 19:18:59
    3. On happiness inequality
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-02-26 19:41:44
    4. Bondage
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-11-14 19:37:10
    5. Advice for youth
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-11-25 20:39:00
    6. Competition & working conditions
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2015-03-29 17:25:00
    7. Some election non-issues
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2015-04-02 19:00:00
    8. Marx's relevance today
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2015-10-25 18:02:00
    9. How much should millennials save?
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-02-17 18:52:00


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bencsik, Panka, 2018. "The non-financial costs of violent public disturbances: Emotional responses to the 2011 riots in England," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 73-82.
    2. Andrew M. Bryce, 2019. "Weekend working in 21st century Britain:Does it matter for well-being?," Working Papers 2019007, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    3. Tobias Wolf & Maria Metzing & Richard E. Lucas, 2019. "Experienced Well-Being and Labor Market Status: The Role of Pleasure and Meaning," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1043, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. Jung, SeEun & Vranceanu, Radu, 2019. "Competitive compensation and subjective well-being: The effect of culture and gender," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 90-108.
    5. De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel & Ward, George, 2017. "Happiness at work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 83604, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Adrian Chadi & Clemens Hetschko, 2017. "Income or Leisure? On the Hidden Benefits of (Un-) Employment," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201706, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    7. Odermatt, Reto & Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Stutzer, Alois, 2017. "Overoptimistic Entrepreneurs: Predicting Wellbeing Consequences of Self-Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 11098, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Daniel Wheatley & Craig Bickerton, 2017. "Subjective well-being and engagement in arts, culture and sport," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 41(1), pages 23-45, February.
    9. Wijngaards, Indy & Hendriks, Martijn & Burger, Martijn J., 2019. "Steering towards happiness: An experience sampling study on the determinants of happiness of truck drivers," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 131-148.
    10. Chris Hand, 2018. "Do the arts make you happy? A quantile regression approach," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 42(2), pages 271-286, May.
    11. Bryson, Alex & MacKerron, George, 2018. "How Does Terrorism Affect Individuals' Wellbeing?," IZA Discussion Papers 11273, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Alex Bryson & George MacKerron, 2017. "How Does Terrorism Affect Individuals’ Wellbeing?," DoQSS Working Papers 17-14, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    13. Angrave, David & Charlwood, Andy & Wooden, Mark, 2014. "Working time and cigarette smoking: Evidence from Australia and the United Kingdom," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 72-79.
    14. Sevinç, Orhun, 2017. "Skill-biased technical change and Labor market polarization:the role of skill heterogeneity within occupations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86147, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Bäker, Agnes & Goodall, Amanda H., 2020. "Feline followers and “umbrella carriers”: Department Chairs’ influence on faculty job satisfaction and quit intentions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(4).
    16. Panka Bencsik, 2018. "Stress on the Sidewalk: Mental health costs of close proximity crime," 2018 Papers pbe976, Job Market Papers.
    17. Sophia Schmitz, 2020. "The Impact of Publicly Funded Childcare on Parental Well-Being: Evidence from Cut-Off Rules," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 36(2), pages 171-196, April.
    18. Orhun Sevinc, 2017. "Skill-Biased Technical Change and Labor Market Polarization: The Role of Skill Heterogeneity Within Occupations," Discussion Papers 1728, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).

    More about this item


    happiness; relaxation; work; wellbeing;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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