Richard Easterlin

University Professor Emeritus of Economics
Richard Easterlin

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • USC Pop Lab,


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

  • Book

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

    Book Chapters

    • 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.
    • 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
  • Committees

    • Director or Undergraduate Studies, 2010-2011
    • Advisor to Provost, Fall 2010
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Associate Editor, Journal of Happiness Studies, 2006 –
    • Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2004 – 2008
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