Richard Layard

The Work Goes On

The Rt Hon The Lord (Richard) Layard on his life in public service and his pioneering research on happiness


Richard Layard, the founding director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and co-director of the Centre’s Community Wellbeing Programme, joins the podcast to talk to Princeton’s Orley Ashenfelter about his life in public service, his advocacy on behalf of the unemployed, and his pioneering research on happiness, life satisfaction, and mental health.

In this episode, Layard and Ashenfelter discuss:

  • Layard’s role in the Robbins Commission in the early 1960’s and the impact it had on higher education in the U.K.
  • The creation of the “two equation model” for measuring the relationship between inflation and unemployment. 
  • Layard’s research on unemployment benefits and his work organizing protests across England on behalf of the unemployed. 
  • Layard’s pioneering work on life satisfaction and mental health, and his experience evaluating policies for treating anxiety and depression experienced by unemployed workers.

Layard first joined the London School of Economics in 1964 and has been a member of the House of Lords since 2000. "The Work Goes On"—a podcast produced as Princeton's Industrial Relations Section (IR Section) celebrates its 100th anniversary—is an oral history of industrial relations and labor economics hosted by Princeton's Orley Ashenfelter.


Layard, Richard, and George Ward. “Can we be Happier? Evidence and Ethics”. London: Pelican, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2020.

Layard, Richard, Stephen J. Nickell, Werner Eichhorst, and Klaus F. Zimmermann. “Combating Unemployment”. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Layard, Richard, Stephen J. Nickell, and Richard Jackman. “Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market”. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.