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

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  • Krekel, Christian

    (London School of Economics)

  • De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel

    (University of Oxford)

  • Fancourt, Daisy

    (University College London)

  • Layard, Richard

    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Krekel, Christian & De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel & Fancourt, Daisy & Layard, Richard, 2021. "A Local Community Course That Raises Wellbeing and Pro-sociality: Evidence from a Randomised Controlled Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 14447, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14447
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    Cited by:

    1. Dolan, Paul & Krekel, Christian & Shreedhar, Ganga & Lee, Helen & Marshall, Claire & Smith, Allison, 2021. "Happy to Help: The Welfare Effects of a Nationwide Micro-Volunteering Programme," IZA Discussion Papers 14431, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Krekel, Christian & MacKerron, George, 2023. "Back to Edgeworth? Estimating the Value of Time Using Hedonic Experiences," IZA Discussion Papers 16308, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wellbeing; pro-social behaviour; communities; intervention; RCT;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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