Area of Study
Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 206

Stephen Wu has published widely in many areas of applied microeconomics. Some of his research topics include the relationship between health and financial status, the determinants of subjective well-being, and early decision and college performance. Wu regularly teaches courses in microeconomics, statistics, health economics, and the economics of higher education. He received his doctorate and master’s degree from Princeton University and his bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

Recent Courses Taught

Introduction to Economics
Microeconomic Theory
Health Economics
Economics of Higher Education
Economics of Happiness

Research Interests

Health economics
Subjective well-being
Economics of education
Behavioral economics
Environmental economics


Faculty collaborator, Emerson Fellowship, 2010, 2013
Faculty collaborator, Levitt Fellowship, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012
Dean’s Scholarly Award for Notable Year Achievement, 2011
Great Professor Award, Alpha Delta Phi, 2011
Faculty collaborator, Freeman Grant in Asian Studies, 2005
Lucas Grant, 2001
Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni Teaching Prize, Princeton University, 1999

Selected Publications

  • “Well-being Across America: Evidence from a Random Sample of One Million Americans,” (with Andrew J. Oswald), Review of Economics and Statistics, November 2011, 93(4): 1118-1134.
  • “Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-Being: Evidence from the USA,” (with Andrew J. Oswald), Science, January 2010, 327(5965): 576-579.
  • “Portfolio Choice and Health Status,” (with Harvey S. Rosen), Journal of Financial Economics, June 2004, 72(3): 457-484.
  • “The Effects of Health Events on the Economic Status of Married Couples,” Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2003, 38(1): 219-230.
  • “Adapting to Heart Conditions: A Test of the Hedonic Treadmill,” Journal of Health Economics, July 2001, 20(4): 495-508.
  • “Are Pregnant Women Happier? Racial Differences in the Relationship Between Pregnancy and Life Satisfaction,” (with Paul Hagstrom), Review of Economics of the Household, September 2016, 14(3): 507-527.
  • “Criminal Records and The Labor Market for Professional Athletes: The Case of the National Football League,” (with Kendall Weir ’12), Journal of Sports Economics, December 2014, 15(6): 617-635.
  • “Happiness as a Driver of Risk-avoiding Behaviour: Theory and an Empirical Study of Seatbelt Wearing and Automobile Accidents,” (with Jan-Emmanuel DeNeve, Robert Goudie, Sach Mukherjee and Andrew J. Oswald), Economica, October 2014, 81(324): 674–697.
  • “Social Comparisons and Life Satisfaction across Racial and Ethnic Groups: The Effects of Status, Information and Solidarity,” (with Lewis Davis), Social Indicators Research, July 2014, 117(3): 849-869.
  • “Heat Waves, Droughts, and Preferences for Environmental Policy,” (with Ann L. Owen, Emily Conover and Julio Videras),” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Summer 2012, 31(3): 556-567.
  • “The Influence of Social Relationships on Pro-Environment Behaviors,” (with Julio Videras, Ann L. Owen and Emily Conover),” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, January 2012, 63(1): 35-50.
  • “Dark Contrasts: The Paradox of High Rates of Suicide in Happy Places,” (with Mary C. Daly, Andrew J. Oswald and Daniel Wilson), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, December 2011, 80(3): 435-442.
  • “Early Decision and College Performance,” (with Elizabeth J. Jensen), Economics of Education Review, August 2010, 29(4): 517-525.
  • “Is Trade Good for Your Health?” (with Ann L. Owen), Review of International Economics, September 2007, 15(4): 660-682.
  • “The Search for Economics Talent: Doctoral Completion and Research Productivity,” (with Wayne A. Grove), American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, May 2007, 97(2): 506-511.
  • “Recent Publishing Trends at the AER, JPE and QJE,” Applied Economics Letters, January 2007, 14(1): 59-63.
  • “Fatalistic Tendencies: An Explanation of Why People Don’t Save,” B.E. Journals in Economic Analysis and Policy: Contributions to Economic Analysis and Policy, 2005, 4(1): Article 11, 1-21.
  • “Sickness and Preventive Medical Behavior,” Journal of Health Economics, July 2003, 22(4): 675-689.

College Service

  • Committee on Appointments, 2017-20
  • Strategic Planning Steering Committee, 2017
  • Presidential Search Committee, 2015
  • Committee on Academic Policy, 2013-16
  • Faculty Appeals Board, 2012-16
  • Planning Committee, 2012
  • Assessment Advisory Group, 2009-15
  • Middle States Accreditation Committee, 2009-10
  • Economics Department chair, 2007-11
  • Presidential Advisory Group, 2005-06
  • Health Professions Advisory Committee, 2005-06
  • Arthur Levitt Center for Public Affairs Council 2004-06, 2012
  • Search Committee for Director of Financial Aid, 2004-05
  • Search Committee for Dean of Admissions, 2003-04
  • Faculty Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid, 2003
  • Information Technology Committee, 2002-03

Professional Affiliations

Financial Planning Review, Associate Editor
International Journal of Wellbeing, Editorial Board
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Editorial Board

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., Princeton University
M.A., Princeton University
B.Sc., Brown University

Personal Interests

piano, double bass, soccer

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