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World Happiness Report 2013

John, Helliwell and Richard, Layard and Jeffrey, Sachs, eds. World Happiness Report 2013. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, New York.

WorldHappinessReport2013_online.pdf - Published Version

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The world is now in the midst of a major policy debate about the objectives of public policy. What should be the world’s Sustainable Development Goals for the period 2015-2030? The World Happiness Report 2013 is offered as a contribution to that crucial debate. In July 2011 the UN General Assembly passed a historic resolution.1 It invited member countries to measure the happiness of their people and to use this to help guide their public policies. This was followed in April 2012 by the first UN high-level meeting on happiness and well-being, chaired by the Prime Minister of Bhutan. At the same time the first World Happiness Report was published,2 followed some months later by the OECD Guidelines setting an international standard for the measurement of well-being. The present Report is sponsored by UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network established by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Happiness The word “happiness” is not used lightly. Happiness is an aspiration of every human being, and can also be a measure of social progress. America’s founding fathers declared the inalienable right to pursue happiness. Yet are Americans, or citizens of other countries, happy? If they are not, what if anything can be done about it? The key to proper measurement must begin with the meaning of the word “happiness.” The problem, of course, is that happiness is used
in at least two ways — the first as an emotion (“Were you happy yesterday?”) and the second as an evaluation (“Are you happy with your life as a whole?”). If individuals were to routinely mix up their responses to these very different questions, then measures of happiness might tell us very little. Changes in reported happiness used to track social progress would perhaps reflect little more than transient changes in emotion. Or impoverished persons who express happiness in terms of emotion might inadvertently diminish society’s will to fight poverty. Fortunately, respondents to happiness surveys do not tend to make such confusing mistakes. As we showed in last year’s World Happiness Report and again in this year’s report, respondents to surveys clearly recognize the difference between happiness as an emotion and happiness in the sense of life satisfaction. The responses of individuals to these different questions are highly distinct. A very poor person might report himself to be happy emotion- ally at a specific time, while also reporting a much lower sense of happiness with life as a whole; and indeed, people living in extreme poverty do express low levels of happiness with life as a whole. Such answers should spur our societies to work harder to end extreme poverty. As with last year’s report, we have again assembled the available international happiness data on how people rate both their emotions and their lives as a whole. We divide the available measures into three main types: measures of positive emotions (positive affect) including happiness, usually asked about the day preceding the survey; measures of negative emotions (negative affect) again asked about the preceding day; and evaluations of life as a whole. Together, these three types of reports constitute the primary measures of subjective well-being.4 The three main life evaluations are the Cantril ladder of life,5 life satisfaction,6 and happiness with life as a whole.7 Happiness thus appears twice, once as an emotional report, and once as part of a life evaluation, giving us considerable evidence about the nature and causes of happiness in both its major senses.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Super Admin
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2015 22:21
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2015 22:28
URI: http://idr.uin-antasari.ac.id/id/eprint/352

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