Household spillovers, new vacancies, and our 2021 Annual Review

14 April 2022

Happiness for the whole family

We’ve updated our cost-effectiveness comparison of psychotherapy and cash transfers to include an estimate of the effects on other household members. Our previous analysis only considered the effects on recipients. 

For cash transfers, we estimate that each household member experiences 86% of the benefits experienced by the recipient. For psychotherapy, we estimate the spillover ratio to be 53%.

After including the household spillover effects, we estimate that StrongMinds is 9 times more cost-effective than GiveDirectly (a slight reduction from 12 times in our previous analysis). 

This new analysis of household effects is based on a small number of studies, eight for cash transfers and three for psychotherapy. The lack of data on household effects is a serious gap in the literature that should be addressed by further research because it is such a large part – indeed, the majority – of the total effects. The significance of household effects seems plausibly crucial for many interventions, such as poverty alleviation programmes, housing improvement interventions, and air or water quality improvements.

Read the report

We’re hiring

We’ve just opened applications for three new positions. All of the roles are full-time with flexible working hours and no geographic or visa limitations.

If you want to get a better feel for what it’s like working at HLI, we think you’ll enjoy these blog posts on life as a researcher and an operations manager by members of our team.

Learn more

2021 Annual Review

The cost-effectiveness analyses of cash transfers, psychotherapy, and StrongMinds consumed most of our research capacity in 2021. However, we also published an updated research agenda and a new problem area report on mental health, to accompany our earlier report on pain

We were featured in Vox, The New Statesman, The Times, BBC Radio 4, and the Clearer Thinking podcast and we welcomed three new members to the team: Samuel Dupret (research), Joy Bitter (operations), and Barry Grimes (communications). We were also joined by a talented team of summer research fellows who explored a variety of applied and theoretical topics from our research agenda.

Read our 2021 Annual Review

What we’ve been reading

World Happiness Report 2022
2022 marks the tenth anniversary of the World Happiness Report. From its first year, the report has had a large and growing readership — reaching over 9 million in 2021. It has been widely cited. But more important has been the message the report has carried. The true measure of progress is the happiness of the people, that happiness can be measured, and that we know a lot about what causes it.

Does philanthropy have a mental health problem?

Government funding for mental health services is still inadequate both within countries and in terms of development assistance, despite efforts to change this. The available data – and it is a bit out of date – also shows that philanthropic funding is, frankly, woeful – with mental health receiving just 0.5 per cent of all philanthropic health spending despite the fact that mental illness accounts for 4.9 per cent of the global burden of disease.