Conal Smith

Income, experienced wellbeing, and measuring the value of non-market outcomes

PhD student Conal Smith


Supervisors: Professor Arthur Grimes and Dr Kate Prickett


Conal is a Wellington-based economist with interests spanning the economics of well-being, social capital and trust, and social policy more generally.

In 2017 the McGuinness Institute engaged Conal to prepare an independent reflection on the 2016 TacklingPovertyNZ regional workshops, resulting in the publication of Think Piece 26 – Doing Something About Poverty in New Zealand that discusses what can be done to address poverty in New Zealand through seven proposals that he puts forward as worthy of investigation.

Conal led the development of the first international guidelines on the measurement of subjective well-being (2013) and trust (2017), as well as the OECD's first well-being-themed country report. He has worked on the policy applications of well-being measures in New Zealand, the OECD, and the developing world and in 2014 co-taught the first formal course in well-being economics at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. Conal has worked as a senior economist at the OECD. and in managerial and senior policy roles in a range of different New Zealand government agencies.

Research interests

His current research areas include the impact of trust on economic growth, assigning values to intangible costs and benefits, and applying well-being measures to public policy questions.