Open main menu

Paul Dolan (academic)

Paul Dolan (born 10 May 1968), London[1] is Head of Department and Professor of Behavioural Science in Psychological and Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.[2] He is Director of the Executive MSc in Behavioural Science which began in September 2014.[3] He is a best selling author and an internationally renowned expert on happiness, behaviour and public policy, he conducts original research into the measurement of happiness, its causes and consequences. He has previously held academic posts at York, Newcastle, Sheffield and Imperial and he has been a visiting scholar at Princeton University[4]

Paul Dolan
Paul Dolan .jpg
Born (1968-05-10) 10 May 1968 (age 50)
Alma materUniversity of York
Notable work
The best seller ‘Happiness by Design’ was published by Penguin in August 2014.
AwardsPhilip Leverhulme Prize in economics for contribution to health economics
Main interests
Behavioural sciences and Happiness



Dolan gained his degree in economics from Swansea University in 1989. His masters and doctorate on "Issues in the valuation of health outcomes" both came from University of York in 1991 and 1997 respectively.[1]


Dolan has over 100 peer-reviewed publications which cover many topics including behavioural science, subjective wellbeing, equity in health and health valuation.[5] He currently holds the position of the Chief Academic Advisor on Economic Appraisal for the UK Government's Economic Service. He is also a member of National Academy of Sciences Panel on Wellbeing and of the Measuring National Wellbeing Advisory Forum. In addition he is a visiting Professor at Imperial College London and an associate of the Institute for Government.[6]

He is an author of the "Mindspace" report published by the UK Cabinet Office which seeks to apply lessons from the psychological and behavioural sciences to social policy.[7]

In 2013 Dolan appeared at the Hay Festival in Cartegena, Colombia[8] and discussed the role of modern technology and happiness, as well as his work on experiences of purpose,[9] attention, and happiness. He also gave the Queen's Lecture on "Happiness by Design" at the TU Berlin in November 2013.[10] Since that Professor Dolan has taken part in a number of national and international speaking events and has appeared on TV in ITV this morning as well as a BBC 2 Horizons series ‘How do we really make decisions?’

On 28 August 2014 Dolan published his book Happiness by Design, with foreword by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman.[11]

Most of us would like to be happier in his book Dolan defines this as experiencing more pleasure and/or purpose for longer. He describes how being happier means allocating attention more efficiently; towards those things that bring us pleasure and purpose and away from those that generate pain and pointlessness. Easier said than done of course, and certainly easier than thought about. But behavioural science teaches us that most of what we do simply comes about rather than being thought about. So, by clever use of priming, defaults, commitments, norms, you can become a whole lot happier without actually having to think too hard about it. You will be happier by design.

In a profile of Dolan published in the Guardian on 22 November 2014,[12] Dolan is quoted as saying:

I have never read a novel in my life. There are only so many hours in the day and I have decided to fill them with activities other than reading made-up stories. Each to their own, eh?


In 2002 he won the Philip Leverhulme Prize in economics for his contribution to health economics; in particular, for his work on QALYs (quality adjusted life years).[13]

Selected bibliographyEdit


  • Dolan, Paul; Olsen, Jan Abel (2002). Distributing health care: economic and ethical issues. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192632531.
  • Dolan, Paul (2014). Happiness by design: change what you do, not how you think. New York: Hudson Street Press. ISBN 9781594632433.

Journal articlesEdit


Major Speaking Events and Talks 2015-2019Edit

Speaker - M&G Management Group - "Happiness and the Importance of Balancing Pleasure and Purpose" - London - December 2018

Speaker - Prudential Impact Development Programme - "Behavioural Insights" - Hong Kong - June 2018

Speaker – Prudential Impact Development Programme - “How We Really Make Decisions” – London – January 2018

Speaker – HK Strategies (Huawei and Saatchi Gallery) – London – December 2017

Speaker - Behavioural Insights Team - London - 25 Oct 2017

Keynote speaker - Happiness and Policy Making - UAE - 22 Oct 2017

Presenter - McKinsey – Talk “How can you find pleasure and purpose to be happier at work, rest and play?” – July 2017

Presenter - The Happiness and Wellbeing Project (St. Louis University, USA) – June 2017

Speaker - Nudge France - Paris- 8 June 2017

Keynote speaker - CWiPP - Sheffield - 24 May 2017

Impact presentation - Prudential - Hong Kong - 15 May 2017

Panellist - The Times – The Alternative Rich List - March 2017

Speaker - Google - Headquarters Youtube Team - Dec 2016

Seminar Presentation - Prudential – Dec 2016

Speaker - B2B – Customer Experience event – Nov 2016

Presenter - Indeed Interactive Europe – Nov 2016

Presenter - Common Wealth Bank – Presentation to the board – Sep 2016

Speaker – Wired – ‘The Secret of Happiness’ – Oct 2015

Speaker – Edinburgh International Television Festival – ‘Measuring Happiness’ – Aug 2015

Speaker – Nudgestock – ‘Purpose In Work’ – June 2015

Speaker – Hay Festival – ‘Happiness By Design’ – May 2015

Speaker – Sydney Writers Festival – ‘Business Bites: Paul Dolan on work/life balance’ May 2015

Speaker - The Wheeler Centre – ‘Why thinking Happy Isn’t enough – May 2015

Speaker – Future Fest – ‘What Happiness Is And How To Find It’ – March 2015

Speaker – Ecobuild – ‘Design in Mind’ – March 2015

Speaker – How To Academy – ‘The Pleasure And Purpose of Behavioural Economics’ - Feb 2015

Selected national televisionEdit

Channel 5 'Make or Break'

ITV This Morning

ITV Tonight

Channel 4 Sunday Brunch

ABC Late line Australia

ABC One Plus One

BBC 2 Horizon, ‘How do we really make decisions?’

Selected national radioEdit

BBC Radio 4, Saturday Morning

BBC Radio 4, You and Yours

BBC 5 live

BBC R3 Free Thinking Festival

BBC London, Local Radio, World News, Newcastle, Wales, Essex

Selected newspaper, magazine, and blog articles 2015 - 2018Edit


  1. ^ a b Dolan, Paul. Curriculum Vitae: Paul Dolan (PDF). California, US: University of Southern California, Dornsife: College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Paul Dolan - profile". London School of Economics. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Executive MSc Behavioural Science". London School of Economics. 22 Oct 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Paul Dolan - profile". London School of Economics. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Current Publications". Paul Dolan. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  6. ^ "about". paul dolan. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  7. ^ "MINDSPACE Behavioural Economics". The Institute for Government. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  8. ^ Hay Festival. "Hay Festival Cartagena 2013: Why the secret of happiness is turning off your mobile phone". Telegraph. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  9. ^ White, MP; Dolan, P. "Accounting for the richness of daily activities". Psychol Sci. 20: 1000–8. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02392.x. PMID 19549079.
  10. ^ "Happiness by Design". Kanal von TUBerlinTV. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  11. ^ Dolan, Paul (2014). Happiness by design: change what you do, not how you think. New York: Hudson Street Press. ISBN 9781594632433.
  12. ^ "Happiness expert Paul Dolan: what makes me happy". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Philip Leverhulme Prizes 2002". The Leverhulme Trust. Retrieved 1 October 2013.

External linksEdit