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Money and Happiness

Money and Happiness

  • Bachelor and Master
  • Winter Semester
  • Seminar
  • Teaching language: English

Aware that English is probably not the native language of the participants, possible language barriers are benevolently / indulgently taken into account. I look forward to welcoming many students who wish to take up this challenge.


The seminar will take place in person as a block course on FRIDAY November 25, 2022. The seminar will be taught in English.


Due to the special format and the time schedule of the seminar, the number of places is limited to 12, and you need to register by email to sekretariat.Cassar@ur.de by October 1 at the latest. Slots will be reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis.


All of your questions will hopefully be addressed during the startup meeting. Any questions before that may be directed at lea.cassar@ur.de.


The course is paper-based and covers the topic of the relationship between income and happiness. The course is centered around one of the core references on the reading list, to be presented by groups of two students, followed by a general in-class discussion. Students are expected to read and be familiar with all the listed core references. The written seminar paper is supposed to build on a larger base of the relevant literature.

Summary of the Important Dates:

  • October 17, 2022, 14:00 - 15:00, room H8: Startup meeting and assignment of groups for the presentations. Please look at the papers in the reading list before the startup meeting so that you can make a more informed choice. 
  • November 23, 2022, 23:59: Deadline for submitting the slides of the main presentations by email to sekretariat.Cassar@ur.de. 
  • November 25, 2022, 10:00 - 16:00, room VG 1.31: Seminar takes place
  • December 9, 2022, 23:59: Deadline for submitting the written seminar papers by email to sekretariat.Cassar@ur.de.
  • Note that the slides of the main presentations must be submitted before the seminar takes place!


This seminar is open to BSc and MSc students. Students should have solid knowledge in microeconomics, game theory, and (micro)econometrics.


  1. Seminar presentation (ca 30 min, 80%)
  2. Written seminar paper (10 pages, 20%)

Group work (presentations and seminar papers) will be graded for the group as a whole, and each group member receives the same grade. Students who insist on individual grades must notify us in advance. Active participation in the general class discussions following the presentations is strongly encouraged and can upgrade your final grade by up to 0.4.


  1. Brickman, P., Coates, D. & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1978). Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?. Journal of personality and social psychology, 36, 917-927. doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.36.8.917
  2. Kahneman, D. & Deaton, Angus. (2010). High Income Improves Evaluation of Life But Not Emotional Well-Being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107 (38), 16489-16493. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1011492107
  3. Solnick, S. & Hemenway, D. (1998) Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 37(3), 373-383. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268198000894
  4. Di Tella, R., New, J. & Macculloch, R. (2007). Happiness Adaptation to Income and to Status in an Individual Panel. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 76, 834-852. doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2010.09.016
  5. Lindqvist, E., Oestling, R. & Cesarini, D. (2020). Long-Run Effects of Lottery Wealth on Psychological Well-Being, The Review of Economic Studies, 87(6), 2703–2726. doi.org/10.1093/restud/rdaa006
  6. Clark, Andrew & Oswald, Andrew. (1996). Satisfaction & Comparison Income. Journal of Public Economics. 61, 359-381. doi.org/10.1016/0047-2727(95)01564- 7  
  7. Kuhn, P., Kooreman, P., Soetevent, A. & and Kapteyn, A. (2011). The Effects of Lottery Prizes on Winners and Their Neighbors: Evidence from the Dutch Postcode Lottery. American Economic Review, 101 (5): 2226-47. www.aeaweb.org/articles


Chair of Empirical Economics


Prof. Lea Cassar, Ph.D.

E-Mail: lea.cassar@ur.de

Phone: +49 941 943-2550
Office: RW(L) 5.12

Office hours: by arrangement