Report calls on policy makers to make happiness a key measure and target of development
Report ranks the happiest countries, with Northern Europe in the lead
NEW YORK, NY, Sept 9th: As heads of state get ready for the United Nations General Assembly in two weeks, the second World Happiness Report further strengthens the case that well-being should be a critical component of how the world measures its economic and social development. The report is published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), under the auspices of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Leading experts in several fields – economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, and more – describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations. The Report is edited by Professor John F. Helliwell, of the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Lord Richard Layard, Director of the Well-Being Programme at LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance; and Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Director of the SDSN, and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General.
“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being,” said Professor Jeffery Sachs. “More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development.”
The first World Happiness Report, released in 2012 ahead of the UN high-level meeting on Happiness and Well-being, drew international attention as a landmark first survey of the state of global happiness. This new Report goes further. It delves in more detail into the analysis of the global happiness data, examining trends over time and breaking down each country’s score into its component parts, so that citizens and policy makers can understand their country’s ranking. It also draws connections to other major initiatives to measure well-being, including those conducted by the OECD and UNDP’s Human Development Report; and provides guidance for policy makers on how to effectively incorporate well-being into their decision making processes.
The report identifies the countries with the highest levels of happiness:
Related: Online Annex
Gross National Happiness: a bad idea whose time has gone
Sep 4, 2014 7:00am
Raising a standard against happiness is never going to be popular, but here goes.
The mountain kingdom of Bhutan has got a lot of mileage out of its practice, first adopted in 1972, of using a broad “Gross National Happiness” (GNH) measure of its people’s welfare rather than a narrow measure like income.
According to the many people who have fallen in love with the idea – the UN went as far as declaring March 20 the “International Day Of Happiness” – a holistic approach to welfare reflects more accurately the many dimensions of wellbeing in the human condition. The philosophy has been urged upon rich and developing economies alike as the proper goal of government policy.
Unfortunately for its international enthusiasts, its originators are losing faith. Tshering Tobgay, elected with a thumping majority last year in only the country’s second parliamentary election, has distanced his government from the concept. “If the government of the day were to spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about GNH rather than delivering basic services, then it is a distraction,” he said. “Rather than talking about happiness, we want to work on reducing the obstacles to happiness”. His campaign promised more practical advances including a motorised rototiller for every village and a utility vehicle for each district… MORE
Where minimum wage is higher, happiness tends to be higher http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/05/14/does-a-higher-minimum-wage-make-people-happier/ …