Who is the happiest-looking economist?

A group of researchers showed photographs, taken from economists’ home pages, to the public and the winner was Edmund Phelps; here is the paper.  Will Wilkinson, source of the tip, summarizes further (with photos) and offers this quotation:

…advice for young academics is: if you seek happiness, become a macro-economist and research happiness; a Nobel Prize does not make you happier; if you want to be popular with the ladies, take lessons from Edmund Phelps, Bruno Frey and Richard Easterlin; if you are looking for the ability to age like a red wine, Joseph Stiglitz and Jean Tirole have the trick, but not Richard Easterlin.

I thought that Milton Friedman usually looked very happy though he was not included in the poll.


Milton Friedman looked very happy

Call no man happy until he is dead, I suppose.

Thank you for posting this. Very interesting!!

"advice for young academics is: if you seek happiness, become..."

Shouldn't this read:

"advice for you academics is: if you seek to appear happy to others, become..."

I realize there's probably correlation between appearing happy and actually being happy, but we should always strive for more precise language.

I've always thought Phelps seemed incredibly happy in his pictures (even his pre-Nobel pictures). That's funny to learn that he is indeed the happiest-looking. Of course, what's the correlation between "happy looking" and subjective happiness? Some people (and I hate these people, as I'm not one of them) have really great smiles. My smile is this strained horizontal line and it looks like I'm taking a crap. But I think I'm fairly happy (I promise!).

Happiness can be derived from the dismal science? Say it ain't so!

Thanks for that, Rich, that was indeed the reference.

I think Geoff Brennan is the happiest-looking economist of my acquaintance. Tyler looks quite misanthropic in pictures; in person, I don't know.

Austin Goolsbee... That guy is always smiling.

This is just plain old silly. Aside from my usual obections to happiness research, I reject the results out of a hand since a single photograph is a worthless indicator of happiness

Andres: "Friedman certainly looked happy, and even happier when he was fighting his adversaries. He looked profoundly satisfied at every punch he threw.

Well, ignorance (of what's going on out there in the lives of the average working person) is bliss, I suppose.

What about Sala i Martin? Look at him in a moment of absolute joy (In the FC Barcelona Stadium, of course): http://www.columbia.edu/~xs23/Indexmuppet.htm

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