Professor Mark Wooden

Professor Mark Wooden
  • Title: Professorial Fellow & Director| Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research| University of Melbourne and HILDA
  • Company: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne and HILDA


Mark Wooden is Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne. Prior to joining the Institute in 2000 he was Acting Director of the National Institute of Flinders University, Adelaide, where he had been employed for 18 years.

He has a long and distinguished research record, mainly in the fields of labour economics and industrial relations, and is the author (or co-author) of four books, over 25 chapters in books and close to 200 articles in academic journals. Much of his research has focused on contemporary trends and developments in Australian labour markets including, for example, casual employment, self-employed contractors and changing patterns in working hours. In recent years his research has also focused on trends in, and correlates of, subjective measures of wellbeing and mental health.

Professor Wooden is also Director of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (or HILDA) Survey project,  Australia’s first large-scale household panel survey and one of Australia’s largest research projects in the social sciences. Funded by the Australian Government, the first wave was conducted in 2001 with sample members re-interviewed every year.

In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia


Policy Discussions have long been, and continue to be, dominated by concerns with the economic indicators (GDP, income, unemployment rates, and the like), yet it is increasingly accepted that what government should most be concerned with is population well-being, which may not always be high correlated with standard economic indicators. In many countries there is now interest in the measurement of well-being, including in the greater use of subjective measures. Australia, however has been slow to embrace such indicators. The HILDA Survey, however is a notable exception. Further, the HILDA Survey is a longitudinal study and thus has the distinct advantage of being able to tell us much more about how individual well-being changes over time.

This presentation will briefly describe the key features of the HILDA Survey design, and the summarise the evidence from 17 years of data collection focusing on subjective measures of overall life satisfaction and mental health.

Evidence will be presented on broad trends in subjective well-being (SWB), evolution in SWB over the life course, year-to-year stability in SWB, responsiveness of SWB to life shocks, and the identification of groups at risk of persistently low SWB.