Paul Dolan (academic)

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Paul Dolan
Paul Dolan .jpg
Born (1968-05-10) 10 May 1968 (age 49)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Alma mater University of York
Notable work The best seller ‘Happiness by Design’ was published by Penguin in August 2014.
Awards Philip Leverhulme Prize in economics for contribution to health economics
Main interests

Behavioural sciences

and Happiness

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]


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 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).[12]

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • 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 articles[edit]


Talks 2016-2018[edit]

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

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

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

Speaker - Nudge France - Paris- 8 June 2017

Keynote speaker - CWiPP - Sheffield - 24 May 2017

Prudential - Impact presentation - Hong Kong - 15 May 2017

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

Google - Headquarters Youtube team talk - Dec 2016

Prudential– Two seminar sessions – Dec 2016

B2B – Customer Experience event – Nov 2016

Indeed Interactive Europe - Presentation – Nov 2016

Common Wealth Bank – Presentation to the board – Sep 2016

Major Speaking events in 2015[edit]

WIRED ’The secret of happiness’

Oct 2015


26-28 Aug 2015


Happiness by design

August 2015


Folkestone, Kent,

‘Purpose in work’

12 June 2015


Llwyfan Cymru - Wales

‘Happiness by design’

30 May 2015


Sydney, Australia,

‘Business Bites: Paul Dolan on work/life Balance’

22 May 2015

THE WHEELER CENTRE Melbourne, Australia, Why thinking happy isn’t enough — and how we can each construct a route to contentment with practical, concrete solution

20 May 2015


Future Thrills Speaker, London,

’ What happiness is and how to find it’

14 March 2015


Excel Centre, London,

‘Design in mind’

3 March 2015


Royal Institution, London,

‘The pleasure and purpose of behavioural economics’

23 Feb 2015

Selected national television[edit]

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 radio[edit]

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 - major outlets/ national newspapers[edit]

Outlet Link

December 2015

‘ The new year resolutions you should be making’

December 2015

Recruiting Ethinic minorties in the military: the solution Is behavioural economics

October 2015

‘This man knows the secret of happiness : the small stuff’

October 2015

'Happiness thinker' Professor Paul Dolan on pleasure, purpose and everyday happiness’

June 2015

‘5 Things you can do to be happier right now’
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD May 2015 ‘Paul Dolan on Happiness by Design: finding a balance between purpose and pleasure’


  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. ^ "Philip Leverhulme Prizes 2002". The Leverhulme Trust. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 

External links[edit]