Erik Lindqvist and Robert Östling have (together with David Cesarini) in a number notable studies examined the effects of wealth on mainly labor supply, health and perceived happiness. The studies utilize, in an ingenious way, what happens when individuals win up to several million SEK on the lottery, including "Winner accounts" that several million Swedes held.

Amongst many things they find that increased wealth, as expected, reduces individuals' labor supply, but that the effect is less than in most other studies. A bigger win reduces the winners' income from service immediately and the effect remains approximately unchanged for over 10 years. The results are important for understanding the labor market effects of economic policies that affect human wealth in a similar way.

Another contribution studies the effect of wealth on health. It is well known that individuals with greater wealth has better health. But it does not have to be interpreted as increased wealth provides better health, as wealth is correlated with other factors that directly affect health. The study shows that lottery winners with high winnings do not get better health after winning, despite a dramatic increase in their wealth. The health of the winners' children is also not significantly affected. An important conclusion is that the positive relationship between wealth and health essentially depends on factors other than the wealth itself.

In a third main contribution, they find that increased wealth has a substantially positive effect on the life satisfaction of the winners. Lindqvist and Östling have also made important contributions in the borderland of political science where they have i.a. shown that more polarized democracies tend to have lower public spending than less polarized democracies.

In addition to these joint contributions, they have made a number of important contributions to other author constellations. Here it can be mentioned in particular that Robert Östling used game theory to investigate the importance of communication while Erik Lindqvist explored the role that non-cognitive and cognitive ability play in the outcome of the labor market. 

They will be awarded at an awards ceremony expected to be held in 2022.


Click here to read the press release in its entirety (in Swedish).