Frances Stewart to Give ODID Distinguished Speaker Lecture 14 May: Against Happiness!

19 April, 2013

Professor Frances Stewart will give the next ODID Distinguished Speaker lecture, entitled Against Happiness!, on 14 May.

The talk will give a critical appraisal of the increasingly popular view that progress should be measured by people’s ‘happiness’ as recorded in surveys. It will discuss problems of measurement of happiness, and contrast the ‘happiness’ view with other approaches to assessing progress including Sen’s capability approach, Human Rights and a perspective based on views of justice.

It will argue that the happiness approach can lead to misguided and harmful policy prescriptions. Yet we cannot ignore happiness altogether.

Frances Stewart is Emeritus Professor of Development Economics at the University of Oxford. She was Director of the Oxford Department of International Development between 1993 and 2003 and of the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity at ODID between 2003 and 2010.

In 2009 she was awarded the UNDP’s Mahbub ul Haq Award for her lifetime achievements in promoting human development and in 2013 she was co-winner with Albert O Hirschman of the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

Frances is co-author of UNICEF’s influential study Adjustment with a Human Face (OUP 1987) and of War and Underdevelopment (OUP 2001); and editor of Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multiethnic Societies (Palgrave, 2008).

The lecture will take place at 5:00 pm in Seminar Room 2. It will be followed by a drinks reception. All welcome.