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Member Highlight: Lucia Macchia


1. First, list your current professional title. Second, describe your background, experience, and research as it relates to Quality-of-life studies. Feel free to describe this in detail.

I am currently a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Research Affiliate at the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford.

I am a behavioural scientist with an interdisciplinary background and an interest in happiness, physical pain, socioeconomic factors, and public policy. Integrating methods from psychology and behavioural economics I explore how socioeconomic factors shape human wellbeing and behaviour. To study these topics, I use large-scale datasets and experiments as well as a wide variety of statistical methods. 

During my PhD, I studied the relationship between macroeconomic and political conditions and wellbeing in Latin America. Towards the end of my PhD, I started to work on inequality and unemployment and their effects on wellbeing. Recently, I expanded this line of research by focusing on another important aspect, namely physical pain. For instance, in one paper which was recently published in Social Science & Medicine, my co-author and I examined how the level of pain in a society is influenced by the unemployment rate and found that physical pain is lower in a boom and greater in an economic downturn.

2.  What initially attracted you to the field of quality-of-life studies?
Coming from Latin America, a region with a large number of socioeconomic and political problems, I was particularly interested in how these issues were linked to people’s quality of life. I wanted to help researchers and policymakers to understand these links to help people improve their wellbeing.

3. What are some areas of quality-of-life studies you feel are lacking attention? Any advice for future QoL researchers?

 I believe that there are three areas of quality-of-life studies that would benefit from researchers’ attention. The first one is what is the most accurate way to measure wellbeing, for example, happiness and life satisfaction. The second one is how mental and physical wellbeing are related to each other. And the third one is whether and how people’s perceptions about climate change and eco-friendly behaviours relate to wellbeing. I highly recommend future QoL researchers to focus on one of these areas as I believe that the development of these three areas will contribute to substantial progress in the quality-of-life field.

4. How long have you been a member of ISQOLS? Why did you choose to be a member of ISQOLS? How has your involvement in ISQOLS impacted your career/research/advancement in your knowledge of QoL studies?
I have been an ISQOLS member since 2017 when I attended my first ISQOLS conference in Innsbruck. I believe that ISQOLS is the main conference in our field where we can all meet to share our research and ideas. My involvement with ISQOLS had a great impact in my career as through ISQOLS I have met many researchers including some of my current collaborators.

Lucia can be reached atlucia_macchia@hks.harvard.edu

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