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How can we improve current measures of well-being and social attitudes by using the "Big Data" revolution and exporting behavioural economics into the field with online representative samples of societies and organizations?

This is the first research area of SOWELL through which researcher will produce unprecedented empirical and theoretical analysis of well-being and social preferences. The study will be based on behavioural measures carried out on a large scale, thanks to the Big Data revolution.

One of the key impacts of Web 2.0 has been the profound change in the traceability of social relations, embedded in big datascapes, such as Google, Facebook, Twitters or the Blogosphere. The web has become one of the most important ways for people to meet and talk about their own lives. Thus, this tool offers us an unprecedented opportunity to expand the scope of traditional social surveys.

(credit AzriSuratmin –
(credit AzriSuratmin –

Firstly, we can test theories by building upon observational data (observed behaviors reveal preferences) instead of subjective opinions reported by people.

Secondly, Big Data make it possible to elicit economic and social attitudes continuously with accuracy on the geographical level, and on large samples.

Finally, whereas traditional social surveys include only a few very general measures of social preferences (such as interpersonal trust) and whereas experimental economics is often confined to small laboratory experiments, Big Data represent a unique opportunity to implement experimental economics on the ground, and to understand social preferences in real-world economic environments, be they business or other forms of organization.


Social preferences and the organization of production

This project will focus on the study of collaborative platforms in order to elicit and analyze the social preferences within various organizations and firms.

Big Data & Well-Being

This new research reinterprets happiness theories using behavioural indicators of well-being based on Big Data.


TrustLab relies on a web platform for experimental economics designed to document and analyze the distribution of social preferences and trust in large samples of populations.