2009 IZA Prize to Richard Easterlin

October 22, 2009

The 2009 IZA Prize in Labor Economics is being awarded today in Washington to the U.S. economist Richard A. Easterlin.This is the first time for this prestigious science award, endowed with 50,000 euros, to be presented in the United States. With the IZA Prize, the renowned Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA Bonn, Germany) recognizes Easterlin's outstanding research on the analysis of subjective well-being and on the relationship between demographic developments and economic outcomes, which is of particular relevance in times of economic crisis. Prior to the official award ceremony, a high-level policy forum will discuss the prospects of the world economy and the labor market effects of the current crisis.

As far back as in the 1970s, Richard Easterlin already showed that rising material wealth does not necessarily improve individual well-being in life. Societies with higher material wealth are on average more satisfied than poorer ones, but once the participation in the workforce ensures a certain level of material wealth, guaranteeing basic needs, individual as well as societal well-being as a whole are no longer increasing with a growth of economic wealth. This finding became known as "Easterlin Paradox." These mechanisms are highly relevant for economic behavior in the labor market, for instance in order to understand female labor supply and labor market search by the unemployed. Easterlin's research also inspired many economists and other social scientists to systematically analyze the relationship between subjective well-being and socio-demographic characteristics such as marital status, health, employment status, or political institutions. Easterlin's work thereby has influenced the thinking of both economists and policy makers until today.

Richard Easterlin's research interests also include the relations between demographic development and economics variables. His central idea - the so-called "Easterlin Hypothesis" - posits that the economic and social fortunes of a cohort tend to vary inversely with its relative size. Easterlin attributes this relationship to several crowding mechanisms which operate in the family, the education system, and the labor market. According to Easterlin, the entry of a large cohort of young and inexperienced workers into the labor market tends to be accompanied with lower relative wages and higher unemployment rates.

IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann praises Easterlin's research of a lifetime

"Richard Easterlin's work of a lifetime is highly impressive. The economic analysis of well-being and happiness would not have been possible without his contributions. His work is politically important as well, since it shows that individuals are not only seeking to maximize their wealth in order to satisfy their well-being and be 'happier'. Quality of life can also be measured in societal fairness, in good infrastructure, in a welfare state that assists the strong and backs the weak, that consists of demanding and enabling incentives," says IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann. "Against the background of the current economic crisis, Easterlin's findings are today more than ever a hint for social and economic policies worldwide."

Easterlin's new book on "Happiness, Growth, and the Life Cycle" will be published soon within the IZA Prize in Labor Economics Book Series by Oxford University Press.

Richard Easterlin is currently professor of economics at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He is Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, and a former Guggenheim Fellow. Easterlin has been an IZA Research Fellow since 1999.

High-ranking experts take part in IZA Prize Policy Forum and Award Ceremony

A number of prominent economists and policy makers will meet today in Washington in honor of Richard Easterlin. Among the participants are Rebecca M. Blank (Under Secretary for Economic Affairs of the U.S. Department of Commerce), Richard Layard (Labour life peer in the House of Lords, UK), Alan B. Krueger (Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist of the U.S. Treasury Department), Theresa K. Osborne (Millenium Challenge Corporation), Jan Svejnar (University of Michigan), Carol Graham (Brookings Institution), Sonia Plaza (World Bank), David G. Blanchflower (Former Committee Member of the Bank of England, UK), Andrew J. Oswald (Member of the French President's Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress), and Tilman Brück (German Institute for Economic Research). The policy debate among the experts will focus on the role of governments in times of economic crisis, and on its labor market effects in developing countries.
-end-
About IZA and the IZA Prize

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) is a private, independent think tank in labor economics, engaging worldwide in labor market research and policy advice. Headed by its director, Professor Dr. Klaus F. Zimmermann, the institute is among the leading research institutions in the field. The IZA Prize in Labor Economics has been awarded since 2001. Among the past prize-winners are eminent economists like Jacob Mincer, Orley Ashenfelter, Edward Lazear, David Card, Alan Krueger, Dale Mortensen, Christopher Pissarides, Richard Freeman, Richard Layard and Stephen Nickell.

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn, Germany

Related Economics Articles from Brightsurf:

A century of misunderstanding of a key tool in the economics of natural resources
In the past few weeks, oil prices have fallen to record lows.

What comes after COVID-19? Special issue in the journal Population and Economics
At this alarming time, when the COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone's mind, a new special issue in the open-access peer-reviewed journal Population and Economics provides a platform for discussion on the impact of the pandemic on the population and economics, both in Russia and worldwide.

Challenges for Russia's agriculture: new special issue in Russian Journal of Economics
While Russia seems to have tackled its historic problem: food shortage -- with the agri-food sector becoming one of the most steadily developing of the national economy in the last decade -- there is a new set of challenges.

Brief entrance test can predict academic success within first year of study in economics
German researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin found that even a short test can reliably predict students' success within their first year of study in economics -- much better than an intelligence test or predictions based on school grades.

The case for economics -- by the numbers
In recent years, criticism has been levelled at economics for being insular and unconcerned about real-world problems.

Scientists develop open-source software to analyze economics of biofuels, bioproducts
Perennial grasses can be converted into everything from ethanol to bioplastics, but it's unclear which bioproducts hold the greatest potential.

Life data economics: calling for new models to assess the value of human data
After the collapse of the blockchain bubble a number of research organisations are developing platforms to enable individual ownership of life data and establish the data valuation and pricing models.

SCAI and ACVP release consensus statement on cardiovascular catheterization laboratory economics
A newly released expert consensus statement provides recommendations for optimizing the financial operations of the cardiovascular catheterization laboratory (CCL) while providing cutting-edge patient care.

Shocking economics
Understanding economies in times of crises? Modern macroeconomics failed so far.

When does one of the central ideas in economics work?
Many situations in economics are complicated and competitive; this research raises the question of whether many theories in economics may suffer from the very fundamental problem that the key behavioral assumption of equilibrium is wrong.

Read More: Economics News and Economics Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.