Happiness Policy and Economic Development

International Journal of Happiness and Development, Forthcoming

8 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2013

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Jana Gallus

UCLA Anderson

Date Written: October 30, 2013


Governments have paid great attention to the results of happiness research. In many countries, the object of government policy is no longer taken to be development in terms of raising GNP. Their focus has shifted to a National Index of Happiness. This paper analyses whether such an aggregate Happiness Index is a better guide to development than GNP or other indices of development. We argue that when the National Happiness Index becomes the official goal of policy, it will be distorted by political interests. The respondents to surveys will resort to strategically answering the questions posed. Even more importantly, the government in power will manipulate the Index in order to further its own interests. As a result, the National Happiness Index will lose its informational quality and will no longer serve as a measure of true happiness in the process of economic development.

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Gallus, Jana, Happiness Policy and Economic Development (October 30, 2013). International Journal of Happiness and Development, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2347562 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2347562

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

Jana Gallus

UCLA Anderson ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.janagallus.com/

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