Internship & Master Thesis

Internship Erasmus Happiness Research Organization/World Database of Happiness & Master Thesis Economics of Happiness


Dr. Martijn Burger

Martijn Hendriks, MSc                        


Efstratia Arampatzi, MSc

Dr. Martijn J. Burger

Martijn Hendriks, MSc

Dr. Jolanda Hessels

Marloes Hoogerbrugge , MSc

Prof. dr. Ruut Veenhoven

Dr. Peter van der Zwan




Internship and Thesis

Contact Person                                     

Dr. Martijn Burger                                                      


  • Communicate on theories and empirical research on the economics of happiness.
  • Think and act in an academic way on the interface of economics, psychology, and sociology.
  • Introduction to academic research; practice in reading and synthesizing academic research.
  • Conducting your own empirical research on the economics of happiness using econometric techniques, resulting in a Master Thesis.


Research: Within the Erasmus Happiness Research Organization / World Database of Happiness, we work on scientific research on happiness. One of the questions that are addressed is under which conditions people are most happy and to what extent these conditions differ across countries and time. The World Database of Happiness ( brings together findings that are scattered throughout many studies and provides a basis for synthetic work. Being part of the World Database of Happiness, the Bibliography of Happiness provides a fairly complete inventory of contemporary publications. This may help to get an overview of the field and to trace literature on specific issues. In addition, the database contains two collections of distributional findings (Happiness in Nations and Happiness in Regions) and one collection of correlational findings (Correlates of Happiness). All these collections are based on the same concept of happiness and consequently on the same array of happiness indicators. Happiness is defined as `the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his life-as-a-whole positively', in short: how well one likes the life one lives. All indicators that fit this definition are included in a collection of acceptable measures (Item Bank).

Tasks: The internship will take place in a 4 to 5 month period; at the end of this period. Interns will start with a literature review on the topic they are assigned to and will help to update the database. Doing so, they will read and make summaries of 15 to 30 studies on this topic. After having completed the literature review they can either:
- Perform a meta-analysis on all the research findings on that topic available in the World Database of Happiness and report the findings in a review paper.
- Formulate a specific research question and analyze primary or secondary data and report the findings in a research paper.
The paper written will serve as the basis for a Master Thesis in their home university.

Currently, candidates can apply to one of the following topics:

  • Happiness and Consumption
  • Happiness and Entrepreneurship
  • Happiness and Gambling
  • Happiness and Income Inequality
  • Happiness and Living Conditions
  • Happiness and Religion
  • Happiness and Unemployment
  • Happiness and Work Conditions

Requirements: Students with an interest in academic research, high grades for statistics, and willingness to put a lot of effort into the project.

Deal: Interesting research, good supervision, free coffee, office space, and a positive work environment.

Application procedure: For the internship, there are only a limited number of places available. Interested students can apply for the internship at the Erasmus Happiness Research Organization / World Database of Happiness. Candidates should send a motivation letter and their curriculum vitae to and