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Measures of GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS Ruut Veenhoven Erasmus University Rotterdam Presentation at OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy Istanbul,

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Presentation on theme: "Measures of GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS Ruut Veenhoven Erasmus University Rotterdam Presentation at OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy Istanbul,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Measures of GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS Ruut Veenhoven Erasmus University Rotterdam Presentation at OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy Istanbul, Turkey June Roundtable on Measuring Happiness and Making Policy

2 Measures of GNH 1.The greatest happiness principle 2.What is happiness? 3.Can happiness be measured? 4.Measures of happiness in nations Average Happiness Happy Life Years Inequality of Happiness Inequality Adjusted Happiness % unhappy 5.Relevance for policy

3 Greatest Happiness Principle

4 Greatest happiness principle Philosophy Morally good is what works out well Morality appears in consequences Most moral is what produces greatest happiness for greatest number This philosophy is called utilitarianism Applied on public choice: rule utilitarianism

5 Greatest happiness principle Variants of rule-utilitarianism Focus on average happiness Standard utilitarianism Focus on difference in happiness Egalitarian utilitarianism Focus on the least happy Negative utilitarianism

6 What is happiness?

7 What is happiness? Four qualities of life

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9 What is happiness? Four kinds of satisfaction

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11 Can happiness be measured?

12 Measurement of happiness Example of a survey question Taking all together, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your life as a whole these days? Dissatisfied Satisfied

13 Happiness in Switzerland 2000

14 Happiness in Zimbabwe 2000

15 Measures of happiness in nations

16 Average Happiness Happy Life Years Inequality of Happiness Inequality Adjusted Happiness % Unhappy

17 Measures of happiness in nations Link with variants of utilitarianism Standard utilitarianism Average Happiness Happy Life Years Egalitarian utilitarianism Inequality of Happiness Inequality Adjusted Happiness Negative utilitarianism % unhappy

18 Measures of happiness in nations Average Happiness

19 Average 0-10 happiness in 2000 Switzerland8,1 USA7,4 UK7,1 Italy 6,9 France6,5 Japan6,2 Russia4,4 Zimbabwe3.3

20 Average 0-10 happiness in 2000 Change since 1973 Switzerland ?8,1 USA+ 0,347,4 UK+ 0,067,1 Italy + 0,966,9 France+ 0,286,5 Japan+ 0,006,2 Russia ?4,4 Zimbabwe ?3.3

21 Measures of happiness in nations Happy Life Years

22 Meaning: How long and happy people live in a country Computation: Life-expectancy x 0-1 happiness Example Switzerland: - Life-expectancy= 79 years - Average 0-10 happiness = 8,1 - HLY = 79 x 0,81 = 64

23 Happy Life Years in 2000 Switzerland63,9 USA57,0 UK55,2 Italy 54,2 France51,4 Japan50,4 Russia29,2 Zimbabwe11,5

24 Happy Life Years in 2000 Change since 1973 Switzerland ?63,9 USA+ 5,257,0 UK+ 4,155,2 Italy + 11,554,2 France+ 6,051,4 Japan+ 4,450,4 Russia ?29,2 Zimbabwe ?11,5

25 Measures of happiness in nations Inequality of Happiness

26 SD 0-10 happiness in 2000 Switzerland1,7 USA2,1 UK2,1 Italy 2,1 France2,2 Japan2,1 Russia2,6 Zimbabwe3.0

27 SD 0-10 happiness in 2000 Change since 1973 Switzerland ?1,7 USA- 0,032,1 UK- 0,162,1 Italy - 0,372,1 France- 0,092,2 Japan+ 0,092,1 Russia ?2,6 Zimbabwe ?3.0

28 Measures of happiness in nations Inequality Adjusted Happiness

29 0-100 IAH in nations in 2000 Switzerland75 USA67 UK64 Italy 62 France58 Japan55 Russia36 Zimbabwe23

30 0-100 IAH in nations in 2000 Change since 1973 Switzerland ?75 USA+ 5,267 UK+ 4,164 Italy + 10,562 France+ 6,058 Japan- 4,455 Russia ?36 Zimbabwe ?23

31 Measures of happiness in nations % Unhappy

32 % unhappy in 2000 (below 5 on 1-10) Switzerland4,1 USA5,9 UK7,9 Italy 9,6 France11,2 Japan14,5 Russia45,5 Zimbabwe56,7

33 Happiness and kind of society

34 Societal correlates of happiness in 95 nations Average happiness Economic affluence+.61 Political freedom+.54 Rule of law+.58 State welfare+.22 Income equality+.18 Tolerance+.68 R 2.73

35 Societal correlates of happiness in 95 nations Explained variance Average happiness73% Happy Life Years81% Inequality of happiness51% Inequality-Adjusted happiness74% % Unhappy77%

36 Societal correlates of happiness in 95 nations Similarity in correlations Difference in correlation with income-inequality –No correlation with Average happiness –Some correlation with SD-happiness All other correlations similar Same policies fit all variants of utilitarianism

37 World Database of Happiness


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