Centre for Vocational Education Research LSE RSS Email Facebook Twitter


CentrePiece article
Misery and mental health
Sarah Flèche and Richard Layard
February 2016
Paper No' CEPCP466:
Full Paper (pdf)

CentrePiece 20 (3) Winter 2015/2016

JEL Classification: I1; I3; I31; I32

Tags: mental health; life-satisfaction; wellbeing; poverty; unemployment; community wellbeing

Mental illness is a far bigger source of human misery than poverty or unemployment, according to research by Sarah Flèche and Richard Layard. They argue that we need to move beyond a purely materialistic conception of misery – and call for increased public spending on mental health. Their study finds that dissatisfaction with life can have many causes – but mental illness is the most important. If people cannot enjoy life, they are just as deprived whether the cause is outside themselves or within.

This article summarises ‘Do More of Those in Misery Suffer from Poverty, Unemployment or Mental Illness?’ by Sarah Flèche and Richard Layard, CEP Discussion Paper No.1356,June 2015.