Richard A. Easterlin

Richard A. Easterlin is University Professor and Professor of Economics, University of Southern California. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, Fellow of the Econometric Society, a former Guggenheim Fellow, and past president of the Population Association of America, Economic History Association, and Western Economic Association International.

Contact address:
Department of Economics, KAP 300
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California 90089-0253
Phone: (213) 740-6993 
Fax (213) 740-8543
E-mail: easterl@usc.edu
Research interests:
Subjective Well-Being
Demography
Economic History
Research:
My basic research motivation has been to understand various real world conditions. Some of the things I've studied are:
the reasons for the limited spread of modern economic growth; 
the relation of economic growth to happiness;
happiness in the transition from socialism to capitalism;
life cycle happiness; 
the transition from high to low mortality and fertility that has invariably accompanied modernization; 
"long swings" of 15 to 25 years in population and economic growth in the US and other developed countries; 
the post-World War II American baby boom and bust.
Progress on these problems has often involved empirical work to establish more clearly the facts to be explained - such as happiness trends, regional incomes in 19th century U.S., reconstructing the history of America's childbearing behavior, and establishing the rise of school enrollments in countries throughout the world. It has required the use of economic theory to organize data and formulate hypotheses, and led to new theorizing on topics such as childbearing behavior and subjective well-being. It has also called for work in other social sciences and for learning new techniques and concepts that fall outside the purview of economics, such as demographic methodology and theories of "relative deprivation", "natural" (i.e. unregulated) fertility, and hedonic adaptation.
Currently I am studying rural-urban differences in subjective well-being.  A new book, Happiness, Growth and the Life Cycle (Oxford University Pres, 2010) brings together some of my recent work.

Contact address:

Department of Economics

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California 90089-0253

Phone: (213) 740-6993 

Fax (213) 740-8543

E-mail: easterl@usc.edu

 

Research interests:

Subjective Well-Being

Demography

Economic History

 

Research:

My basic research motivation has been to understand various real world conditions. Some of the things I've studied are: the reasons for the limited spread of modern economic growth; the relation of economic growth to happiness;happiness in the transition from socialism to capitalism;life cycle happiness; the transition from high to low mortality and fertility that has invariably accompanied modernization; "long swings" of 15 to 25 years in population and economic growth in the US and other developed countries; and the post-World War II American baby boom and bust. Progress on these problems has often involved empirical work to establish more clearly the facts to be explained - such as happiness trends, regional incomes in 19th century U.S., reconstructing the history of America's childbearing behavior, and establishing the rise of school enrollments in countries throughout the world. It has required the use of economic theory to organize data and formulate hypotheses, and led to new theorizing on topics such as childbearing behavior and subjective well-being. It has also called for work in other social sciences and for learning new techniques and concepts that fall outside the purview of economics, such as demographic methodology and theories of "relative deprivation", "natural" (i.e. unregulated) fertility, hedonic adaptation, and setpoint theory.

Honors:

  • IUSSP Laureate Award, 2010

  • IZA Prize in Labor Economics, 2009

  • Distinguished Fellow, American Economic Association, 2006

  • Distinguished Researcher Award, International Society for Quality of Life Studies, 2006

  • Honorary doctorate, Lund University, Sweden, May 1998

  • Irene B. Taeuber Award, Population Association of America, 1993