HAPPIER LIVES INSTITUTE

STARTED: Incubated in the 2019 Incubation Program (started before the program).

Michael Plant, PhD
Founder and Director

The Happier Lives Institute helps donors and policymakers to answer the following question: How can we use our resources most effectively 

​to help people feel happier? Their research combines data from self-reported happiness and life satisfaction scores with insights from multiple academic disciplines, primarily economics, philosophy, and psychology.

CURRENT OR PREDICTED IMPACT:

  • HLI’s meta-analyses comparing the impact of cash transfers and psychotherapy found that psychotherapy is 12 times (95% CI: 4, 24) more cost-effective in terms of increasing subjective well-being.

  • Their research pipeline includes a range of other promising interventions that may be more cost-effective than GiveWell’s current top charity recommendations.

  • HLI is in dialogue with Open Philanthropy, GiveWell, and Founders Pledge about using subjective well-being to evaluate interventions.

SIGNIFICANT UPDATES: 

  • HLI's meta-analysis on the effects of cash transfers on subjective wellbeing and mental health has been published in Nature Human Behaviour (January 2022)

  • HLI’s research on psychotherapy led to an article in Vox (November 2021)

  • HLI ran it’s first Summer Research Fellowship (July/August 2021)

  • HLI’s Director, Michael Plant, provided feedback to Richard Layard and Jan-Emmanuel De Neve on the first ever textbook on wellbeing science (July 2021)

  • HLI’s Director, Michael Plant, joined an expert panel on BBC Radio 4 to discuss "The Secret to Lasting Happiness" (February 2021)

  • HLI researchers joined world-leading experts at a conference on fundamental issues in the measurement of subjective well-being (February 2021)

ACHIEVEMENTS: 

  • Published the first meta-analysis investigating the impact of cash transfers on mental health and subjective well-being (accepted for publication in the academic journal Nature Human Behaviour)

  • Published the first comparison between two different types of intervention (cash transfers and psychotherapy) using the same units of value (subjective well-being)

  • Named one of the best charities to donate to in 2021 by Giving What We Can

ROOM FOR MORE FUNDING FOR 2022: 

  • HLI is aiming to raise $354,000 to cover their 2022 budget.