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Personal profile


Michael Shields is a Professor at the Centre for Health Economics.

His research is in the areas of applied health and labour economics. He has worked on a wide range of topics including life satisfaction, socioeconomic inequalities, mental illness, measuring health status, intra-household allocation and decision-making, labour market discrimination, nursing labour markets and immigration.

He has a particular interest in the socioeconomic determinants and dynamics of health and wellbeing. Some of his most recent studies have focused on the links between local area economic conditions and health, the characteristics of individuals who are resilient, the effect of spousal bereavement on loneliness and social isolation, the impact of job insecurity on health, and how economic preferences are related to health status.

His research has been published in leading international journals such as the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Literature, the Journal of Business and Economics Statistics, the American Economic Journal: Applied, the Economic Journal, and Demography.

Michael is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science in Australia (FASSA); a Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Institute; and a Research Fellow of the IZA.


Most recent publications:

Kung, CSJ., Pudney, S. and Shields, MA. (2022). Economic gradients in loneliness, social isolation and social support: Evidence from the UK Biobank. Social Science and Medicine, forthcoming.

Freak-Poli, R., Kung, CSJ., Ryan, J. and Shields, MA. (2022). Social isolation, social support, and loneliness before and after spousal death and the buffering role of financial resources. Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 77, pp. 956-971.

Johar, M., Johnston, DW., Shields, MA., Siminski, P. and Stravrunova, O. (2022). The economic impacts of direct natural disaster exposure. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 196, pp. 26-39.


Most cited publication:

Clark. A., Frijters, P. and Shields, MA. (2008). Relative income, happiness and utility: An explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and other puzzles. Journal of Economic Literature, XLVI, 95-144.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Research area keywords

  • Health Economics
  • Labour Economics
  • Economics of Happiness
  • Applied Econometrics


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