Richard Layard, economist and author

Richard Layard is a British Labour economist, currently working as a programme director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. His early career focused on how to reduce inequality and unemployment. He has written about the economics of happiness, with one theme being the importance of non-income variables on aggregate happiness including mental health. His latest book Can We Be Happier? looks at how better mental health can improve our social and economic life. 

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The future of happiness 

In this remarkable interview with Andrea Catherwood, Richard Layard calls for a change in culture and goals to tackle the problems of egotism and self-absorption, in order to improve our lives and the lives of others. He examines the purpose of government in assessing happiness and talks about our current goals in society and their impact on our mental health. Discussing Covid-19 and its potential long-term impacts on our happiness, Andrea asks what we can do to change that and whether the pandemic has created any positives in how we view our role in society. Looking at the purpose of work and using management to inspire rather than create fear, is there a chance we could emerge from this with a society in which we value co-operation a lot more strongly?