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Economics of Well-BeingOrganization logo: Erasmus University Rotterdam

About this minor

This interdisciplinary minor connects economics and other social sciences with its ultimate purpose: understanding and improving human well-being.

In this minor, we explore the science of well-being. Core questions that will be covered in this minor include: What makes whom happy? Do people make optimal choices to achieve their well-being goals? If not, how can people be supported in optimizing their well-being? How to create thriving organizations and societies with flourishing employees and citizens? And, how do happier and healthier citizens and employees stimulate better societal outcomes and company profits?

To answer these and other questions, this minor will use contemporary scientific evidence and offer multidisciplinary perspectives. The focus will be on topics related to economic behavior and phenomena. To learn about well-being, we will read recent scientific articles and watch videos from top researchers, and we will subsequently discuss these in the interactive lectures. In addition, you will conduct empirical analyses to explore the topic of well-being. The course material combines insights from applied economics (happiness economics, health economics, behavioral economics, and labor economics), business economics, psychology (positive psychology and organizational psychology), and sociology. Both objective and subjective measures of well-being will be discussed, with a focus on subjective well-being (happiness and life satisfaction).
The graded assessments focus on (1) developing ideas and interventions to improve well-being, (2) developing new insights on well-being using empirical data, and (3) critically reflecting on existing ideas about well-being. This minor helps you to develop some core skills, including the ability to work with and critically reflect on scientific literature, conduct data analysis, and develop interventions. This course provides future economists, policy-makers, business leaders, HR specialists, psychologists, and related professions with fundamental expertise in a world where well-being has become a primary theme in organizational and public policies. The course material is also relevant on a more personal level, as personal well-being is important in its own right and instrumental in reaching other goals in life such as a successful career.

Learning outcomes

  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various conceptualizations and measures of well-being using appropriate arguments.
  • illustrate how people’s well-being influences their behaviour and achievements by applying appropriate empirical evidence and theories.
  • critically reflect on lay beliefs, contemporary theories, and empirical analyses on well-being using appropriate arguments.
  • develop strategies and policies that improve well-being by applying appropriate empirical evidence and theories.
  • conduct empirical analyses on well-being using basic statistical techniques in Stata.

Teaching method and examination

Interactive lectures and tutorials

Teaching material
Scientific articles and videos

Examination
Module 1 “Well-being: An introduction”
Take-Home Exam (four open questions)

Module 2 “Empirical analyses of Well-being”
Individual assignment. In this assignment, students conduct empirical analyses on well-being related research questions and describe their findings in a research report. Students can select their topic of interest from a list of three topics.

Module 3 “Work and Well-being”
Pitch (oral presentation). In this group assignment, students work on a business case related to employee well-being.

Module 4 “Health and Well-being”
Written Exam (multiple choice and open questions)

Module 5 “Society and Well-being”
Individual Assignment (essay about a well-being related societal issue). Bonus points can be earned in lectures through case studies.

Composition final grade
The final grade of the minor is the weighted average of the four or five modules.
An average grade of 5.5 is sufficient to pass the minor. 75-80% of the course grade is based on individual assessments, and an individual adjustment based on peer evaluations is applied in the group assessment.

Good to know

Students from all educational backgrounds are admissible for this minor.
We encourage both students with an economic and non-economic background to participate in this minor. This minor is a 15 ECTS course for non-ESE students (5 modules; 10 weeks) and a 12 ECTS course for ESE students (4 modules; 8 weeks), but ESE students can optionally do the fifth module and earn 15 ECTS points.

Students are expected to have a genuine interest in economic, psychological, sociological, and epidemiological approaches to well-being. Yet, students are NOT expected to have already been introduced to these fields. Active class particicipation in the interactive lectures is expected. As this minor is delivered in English, a sufficient command of the English language in speech and writing is needed. Students are expected to have an understanding of basic statistics, such as correlations and the basics of regression analysis. No textbooks or other course material has to be purchased for this course.

The reading material will be provided by the lecturers after the start of the course.

Additional information

  • Code
    MINFEW14
  • Theme
    Economics
  • Credits
    ECTS 15
  • Selection minor
    No
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