Books

Richard Layard has written numerous books over the course of his career, with notable titles in the areas of labour economics and in the economics of mental health and happiness.

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Wellbeing: Science and policy (2022)
with Jan-Emmanuel De Neve

This first, field-defining textbook on the subject of wellbeing science aims create a whole new generation of researchers and analysts with expertise in the science of wellbeing and to integrate the social sciences by showing how each of them contributes to the goal of human wellbeing.

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Happiness: Lessons from a new science (2005 & 2011)

In his landmark book, Richard Layard shows that there is a paradox at the heart of our lives. Most people want more income. Yet as societies become richer, they do not become happier. This is not just anecdotally true, it is the story told by countless pieces of scientific research. 

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Can We Be Happier? Evidence and Ethics (2020)
with George Ward

This book argues that the goal for a society must be the greatest possible all-round happiness, and shows how each of us can become more effective creators of happiness, both as citizens and in our own organizations.

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Tackling Inequality (1999)

This book contains his most influential articles on education, equality and income distribution and on the lessons of economic transition in Eastern Europe. It is published along with a companion volume. Inequality argues that lifetime inequality is the basic inequality we should worry about. 

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The Origins of Happiness
(2018)

What makes people happy? Why should governments care about people’s well-being? How would policy change if well-being were the main objective? The Origins of Happiness seeks to revolutionize how we think about human priorities and to promote public policy changes that are based on what really matters to people. 

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Unemployment (1991)
with S. Nickell and R. Jackman

This book is concerned with why unemployment is so high and why it fluctuates so wildly. It shows how unemployment affects inflation, and discusses whether full employment can ever be combined with price stability. It asks why some groups have higher unemployment rates than others.

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Thrive (2014)
with Prof. David M. Clark

Thrive explores the new effective solutions to the misery and injustice caused by mental illness. It describes how successful psychological treatments have been developed and explains what works best for whom. It also urges us to do all we can to prevent these problems in the first place, through better schools and a better society.