Mark Fabian's picture

Mark Fabian



BA (philosophy), hons. (ANU); MIDEC (ANU, with distinction)

Contact details

Phone: 6125 6409

Room: Old Canberra House (OCH) 3.72

After bailing out of law school I initially trained as a social theorist, with majors in philosophy and history and minors in sociology and politics. Then I wandered for a bit (mostly coaching tennis and moonlighting as an editor to fund international travel) before making my way to a master of international and development economics. I am now completing a PhD in economics trying to build a better model of happiness, life satisfaction, well-being or whatever you want to call it. This neatly bridges my undergraduate and postgraduate studies. I also maintain a significant side interest in development economics, especially the middle-income trap and the political economy of structural reform. I have worked for the East Asia Forum for the past 5 years and consequently have decent competency in the political economy of Asian public policy, so all my research revolves around case studies drawn from the region.

PhD programme


Topic title

Towards a grand theory of happiness – integrating insights from economics, psychology and philosophy

Topic description

The well-being literature has recently recognised the distinction between hedonic and eudemonic well-being, or rather, a predominance of positive emotions versus deeper psychological health. The new areas that have been folded in as part of eudemonic well-being, notably relationships, meaning and achievement as part of Martin Seligman’s PERMA framework, are all substantially under-theorised. Fortunately, we have centuries of philosophy to draw on for these topics, as well as a range of important streams of inquiry in psychology, notably self-determination theory, self-discrepancy theory and terror-management theory, to plug this gap. My thesis is an attempt to synthesise the existing literature on emotional well-being with the literature on psychological well-being to produce a model of subjective well-being. It then attempts to fold in the development economics literature on objective well-being and how it is measured in things like GDP, the human development index and the four capital framework, to arrive at useful comments on how public policy might engage with well-being without doing anything disastrous.


Working Papers

Fabian, M. ‘The Coalescence of Being: Solving the problem of despair with insights from modern psychology’, available at

Journal Articles

  • Fabian, M. and Breunig, R. (eds.) (Forthcoming), ‘Hybrids: Taking public policy beyond ideology’, London, UK: Routledge
  • Fabian, M. and Breunig, R. (Forthcoming), ‘Long work-hours and job satisfaction: do overworkers get trapped in bad jobs?’, in Social Science Quarterly
  • ‘Paying overwork: What it’s worth’, in Solutions, vol. 6 No. 1, 2015
  • ‘What Asia’s experience can teach us about happiness’ in East Asia Forum Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 3


Book Reviews

  • ‘Stability of Happiness: theories and evidence on whether happiness can change, by Kennon M. Sheldon and Richard E. Lucas eds. (Elsevier Academic Press, Oxford, UK, 2014) pp. xvi + 317’, in Economic Record, Vol. 92, no. 297, June 2016
  • ‘Happiness and Economic Growth: Lessons from developing countries by Andrew E. Clark and Claudia Senik (Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2014), pp. xiv + 277’, in Economic Record, Vol. 92 No. 296, March 2016
  • ‘Why Gender Matters in Economics by Mukesh Eswaran (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ), pp. xii + 392’, in Economic Record, Vol.91, No. 292, 2015
  • ‘Measuring Happiness: the economics of wellbeing’ ( by Joachim Weimann, Andreas Knabe and Ronnie Schob (MIT Press, Cambridge: MA, 2015) pp. x + 212 in Economic Record, Vol. 91 no. 294, 2015

Radio and television

Scholarships and fellowships

Australian Postgraduate Award

EABER PhD top-up Scholarship

National Parliamentary Fellowship Program - India

Employment history

2015-2017: Tutor - Governments, Markets and Global Change 2015-2017: Tutor - Issues in Development Policy 2016-2017: Tutor - The Economic Way of Thinking

2011-2017: East Asia Forum (General Manager and other roles)

2016: Policy Adviser, Office of Baijayant Panda MP Lok Sabha, India

2012: Tutor - Fundamentals of Political Theory

2011-2013: Tutor - Tjabal Centre for Indigenous Students

2010-2012: General Manager, Centre for the Study of Australian Politics

2010: Academic Sub-Dean, Burton and Garran Hall

Personal links

Mailing address

Crawford School of Public Policy
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building No. 132
Lennox Crossing
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200 Australia

Updated:  24 March 2017/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team