Richard Easterlin

University Professor and Professor of Economics

Contact Information
E-mail: easterl@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-6993
Office: KAP 318B

Personal Website


  • M.S. , Stevens Institute of Technology, 1948
  • M.A. , University of Pennsylvania, 1949
  • Ph.D. , University of Pennsylvania, 1/1953

  • Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    Professor Easterlin studies changes in subjective well-being over the life cycle, applying the demographers’ technique of cohort analysis to social survey data. The aim is to clarify the role in determining well-being of circumstances such as living levels, family life, health, job conditions, and personality, and the reasons for the paradoxical relation between income and subjective well-being. At a point in time, there is a positive association between subjective well-being and size of income, but over time there is no improvement in subjective well-being as income increases.

    Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

    • USC Pop Lab, http://www.usc.edu/org/pop/intro.html


    • Easterlin, R. A. (2004). The Reluctant Economist: Perspectives on Economics, Economic History, and Demography. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Book Chapter
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2006). Building a Better Theory of Well-being. (Vol. 29-64). Oxford University Press.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2004). Life Satisfaction: Can We Produce It?. pp. p. 347-357. Norwell, MA: Challenges for Quality of Life in the Contemporary World/Kluwer Academic Press.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2004). The Story of a Reluctant Economist. (Vol. NA). Cheltenham: Reflections of Eminent Economists/Edward Elgar.

    Journal Article
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2011). The Impact of Modern Economic Growth on Urban-Rural Differences in Subjective Well Being. World Development.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2010). The happiness–income paradox revisited. PNAS.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2007). Modern Economic Growth and Quality of Life: Cross-Sectional and Time Series Evidence. Handbook of Social Indicators and Quality of Life Research.
    • Easterlin, R. A., Sirgy, M., Michalos, A. C., Ferriss, A. C., Patrick, D., Pavot, W. (2006). The Quality-of-Life (QOL) Research Movement: Past, Present, and Future. Social Indicators Research/Springer. pp. p.343-466.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2006). Life Cycle Happiness and Its Sources: Intersection of Psychology, Economics and Demography. Journal of Economic Psychology/Elsevier. pp. p.463-482.
    • Zimmermann, A. C., Easterlin, R. A. (2006). Happily Ever After? Marriage, Divorce, and Happiness in Germany. Population and Development Review/Blackwell. pp. p.511-528.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2005). Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness: A Reply to Hagerty and Veenhoven. Social Indicators Research/Springer. pp. p. 429 - 443.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2005). Diminishing Marginal Utility of Income? Caveat Emptor. Social Indicators Research/Springer. pp. p. 243-255.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2005). A Puzzle for Adaptive Theory. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization/Elsevier. pp. p. 513-521.
    • Easterlin, R. A. (2004). The Economics of Happiness. Daedalus/MIT Press. pp. p. 26 - 33.

    Honors and Awards

    • Distinguished Fellow, American Economic Association, 2006-  
    • National Academy Member, National Academy of Sciences, 2002-  
    • USC University Professor, 1999-  
    • American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, Fellow, 1978-  
    • President of Western Economic Association International, 2010-2011   
    • President Elect of Western Economic Association International, 2009-2010   
    • Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, 1988-1989  
    • USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, 1988  
    • President, Economic History Association, 1979-1980  
    • President, Population Association of America, 1978  

    Service to the University

    • Director or Undergraduate Studies, 2010-2011   
    • Advisor to Provost, Fall 2010   

    Service to the Profession

    Editorships and Editorial Boards
    • Associate Editor, Journal of Happiness Studies, 2006-  
    • Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2004-2008