Kate Stirling’s research interests focus in part on social policy affecting women and children, including the feminization of poverty, child support, the economics of divorce, and related gender issues. More recently her research has shifted to the economics of happiness and alternatives to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of a nation’s value to society. Merging these two interests, Stirling has been studying changes in well-being among low-income women, and whether mindfulness training might help moderate the stress of poverty. Her interest in the economics of happiness took her to the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, where well-being is measured utilizing Gross National Happiness. Stirling is the co-founder, with Chiara Wood, of the Happiness Initiative Project in Tacoma-Pierce County, part of a nationwide movement. At the 2013 Living Well in Pierce County: Happiness, Economy and Environment event, Stirling presented on “What Are We Happy About?” She also spoke earlier at Yale on “Practical Wisdom for Business and Economics.” Her research papers include “The Impact of Child Support: Balancing the Economics Needs of Children and their Noncustodial Parents,” and “Buddhist wisdom as a path to a new economic enlightenment,” in the Journal of Management Development (2014). Stirling teaches introductory economics, macroeconomics, gender studies, and the economics of happiness.
B.A., St. Martin's College, 1980; M.A., Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1983, 1987