Professor Nick Powdthavee

Professorial Research Fellow (HILDA Survey)

Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Contact details

Phone: +61 3 9035 3062
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111



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Curriculum Vitae pdf


Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
Level 5, Faculty of Business and Economics Building, 111 Barry Street, The University of Melbourne


Professor Nattavudh (Nick) Powdthavee holds a joint position as a Professorial Research Fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research, University of Melbourne, and a Principal Research Fellow in the Well-Being research programme at the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE. He obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Warwick in 2006 and has held positions at the University of London, University of York, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His research interests are quantitative social and behavioural sciences, and his research findings have been regularly discussed in the media, including the Financial Times, the Economist, and the London Times. He is the author of the popular economics book, The Happiness Equation: The Surprising Economics of Our Most Valuable Asset, Icon Books. For more details, see:

Research Interests / Current Projects

Current Areas of Research:

Happiness economics; behavioural economics; health economics; expert advice


BSc. in Economics and Management/Brunel University

MSc. in Economics/Warwick University

PhD. in Economics/Warwick University

Affilitations/Professional activities with other institutions:

The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research - Professorial Research Fellow

IZA - Research Associate

Selected Publications / Papers

Scholarly Books:

Powdthavee, N. (2010), ‘The Happiness Equation: The Surprising Economics of Our Most Valuable Asset’, Icon Books: London.

Scholarly Book Chapters:

Powdthavee, N. (2007), ‘Happiness and the standard of living: Evidence from South Africa’, in Bruni L., and Porta, P.L. (eds), Handbook on the Economics of Happiness, Edward Elgar: UK, p.447-486. 

Oswald, A.J., and Powdthavee, N. (2010), ‘Death, happiness equations, and the calculation of compensatory damages’, in (eds) Posner, E.A. and Sunstein, C.R. (eds.) Law and Happiness. University of Chicago Press.

Refereed Journal Articles:

Chongvilaivan, A., and Powdthavee, N. (In press), ‘Do Different Work Characteristics Have Different Distributional Impacts on Job Satisfaction? A Study of Slope Heterogeneity in Workers’ Well-Being’, British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Powdthavee, N. and Riyanto, Y.E. (In press). Would you pay for transparently useless advice? A test of boundaries of beliefs in the folly of predictions. Review of Economics and Statistics.

Boyce, C., Wood, A., and Powdthavee, N. (2013), ‘Is Personality Fixed? Personality Changes as Much as “Variable” Economic Factors and More Strongly Predicts Changes to Life Satisfaction’, Social Indicators Research, 111(1), 287-305.

Powdthavee, N. and Vernoit, J. (2013). Parental unemployment and children’s happiness: a longitudinal study of young people’s well-being in unemployed households. Labour Economics, 24, 253-263.

Powdthavee, N. (2012), ‘Jobless, friendless, and broke: What happens to different areas of life before and after unemployment?’,Economica, 79(315), 557-575.

Dolan, P., and Powdthavee, N. (2012), ‘Thinking about it: A note on attention and well-being losses from unemployment’, Applied Economics Letters, 19(4), 325-328.

Powdthavee, N. (2011), ‘Anticipation, free rider problem, and adaptation to trade union: Re-examining the curious case of dissatisfied union members’, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 64(5), 1000-1019.

Powdthavee, N., and van Den Berg, B. (2011), ‘Putting different price tags on the same health problem: Re-evaluating the well-being valuation, Journal of Health Economics, 30(5), 1032-1043.

Metcalfe, R., Powdthavee, N., and Dolan, P. (2011), ‘Destruction and distress: Using a quasi-experiment to show the effects of the September 11 attack on subjective well-being in the UK’, Economic Journal, 121(550), F81-F103.

Powdthavee, N. (2010), ‘Does education reduce the risk of hypertension? Estimating the biomarker effect of compulsory schooling in England’, Journal of Human Capital, 4(2), 173-202.

Powdthavee, N. (2010), ‘How much does money really matter? Estimating causal effects of income on happiness’, Empirical Economics, 39(1), 77-92.

Oswald, A.J., and Powdthavee, N. (2010), ‘Daughters and left-wing voting’, Review of Economics and Statistics, 92(2), 213-227.

Powdthavee, N. (2009), ‘What happens to people before and after disability? Focusing effects, lead effects, and adaptation in different areas of life’, Social Science and Medicine, 69, 1834-1844.

Powdthavee, N. (2009), ‘How important is rank to individual perception of economic standing? A within-community analysis’, Journal of Economic Inequality, 7(3), 225-248.

Powdthavee, N. (2009), ‘I can’t smile without you: Spouse correlation in life satisfaction’, Journal of Economic Psychology, 30(4), 675-689.

Powdthavee, N., and Vignoles, A. (2009). The socio-economic gap of university drop out, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 9(1), 19.

Powdthavee, N. (2009), ‘Think having children will make you happy?’,The Psychologist, 22(4), 308-311.

Powdthavee, N. (2009), ‘Ill-health as a household norm: Evidence from other people’s health problems’, Social Science and Medicine, 68, 251-259.

Oswald, A.J., and Powdthavee, N. (2008), ‘Death, happiness equations, and the calculation of compensatory damages, Journal of Legal Studies, 37(S2), S217-S252.