What is wrong with the way governments are pursuing happiness objectives?

There can be no doubt that western democratic governments have been attempting to promote the happiness of citizens for a long time. They may not talk much about attempting to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number, or any similar high-sounding principle, but they have a wide range of policies intended to promote . . . → Read More: What is Wrong With the Way Governments are Pursuing Happiness Objectives?

Is Bhutan's GNH experiment a success or failure?

This charming little video provides some history of the concept of Gross National Happiness and its application in Bhutan.

It is amazing how much passion has been aroused by Gross National Happiness outside Bhutan. In August last year Jeffrey Sachs, a distinguished development economist, suggested that western countries should follow Bhutan in adopting Gross . . . → Read More: Is Bhutan’s GNH Experiment a Success or Failure?

How Much Does Overwork Effect Happiness?

The results of a survey conducted recently by the Australia Institute apparently shows that half of Australians (61 per cent of those working overtime) were prevented from spending enough time with family in the preceding week as a result of over-work. According to the press release (which is the most detailed description of the . . . → Read More: How Much Does Overwork Effect Happiness?

Does Meaningful Work Contribute to Life Satisfaction?

In my last post I expressed disappointment that the authors of an article about material prosperity and life satisfaction did not acknowledge the sense of achievement that many people obtain from their work.

How do I know that meaningful work contributes to life satisfaction? It would be easy enough to make a fairly long list of . . . → Read More: Does Meaningful Work Contribute to Life Satisfaction?

Is Life Satisfaction Mainly About Comfort?

‘Contrary to both those who say money is not associated with happiness and those who say that it is extremely important, we found that money is much more related to some forms of well-being than it is to others. Income is most strongly associated with the life evaluation form of well-being, which is a . . . → Read More: Is Life Satisfaction Mainly About Comfort?

Does Identity Economics Predict Happiness in Different Societies?

I get the impression from the methodology chapter of their recent book, ‘Identity Economics’, that George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton are not particularly interested in econometric tests of the predictive power of their theory. They suggest that it is difficult to falsify any theory because ‘even the most straight forward test has literally millions . . . → Read More: Does Identity Economics Predict Happiness in Different Societies?

Where are People Most Satisfied With Efforts to Preserve the Environment?

This question arose as I was thinking about the relationship between the determinants of happiness (i.e. survey measures of subjective well-being or SWB) and human flourishing at a national level.

Recent research has been able to explain around 90% of inter-country differences in average SWB in terms of average income levels, enough money for . . . → Read More: Where are People Most Satisfied With Efforts to Preserve the Environment?

What Do We Know About the Neurology of Human Flourishing?

“Human flourishing is fundamentally a self-directed activity. … Flourishing does not consist in the mere possession and use of goods that might be necessary for a flourishing life. Rather, human flourishing consists in a person developing the skills, habits, judgements and virtues that will, in most cases, achieve the needed goods. The goods must, . . . → Read More: What Do We Know About the Neurology of Human Flourishing?

The Chinese Are Becoming Wealthier, So Why Aren’t They Happier?

This is the question raised in a recent article in the Journal of Happiness Studies: “The China puzzle: falling happiness in a rising economy”, by Hilke Brockman, Jan Delhey, Christian Weizel and Hao Yuan (V10, 4, 2009).

The focus of the study is the decade from 1990 to 2000. Even though real per capita . . . → Read More: The Chinese Are Becoming Wealthier, So Why Aren’t They Happier?

Can We Use Dollars to Compare How Much Various Life Events Affect Well-being?

The life events I propose to discuss here are things like major improvements or worsening in financial situation, getting married or divorced, having a child, serious personal injury, death of a spouse, being made redundant and change of residence. I will focus on subjective well-being, as measured by surveys which ask people for a . . . → Read More: Can We Use Dollars to Compare How Much Various Life Events Affect Well-being?