We’ve written about Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness before, but now that the new policy has been in place in a while, it’s a good time to revisit the topic.
First, Bhutan has very nicely posted all their research online.
Second, the good news is that Bhutan’s research is being applied elsewhere, within the rubric of the burgeoning happiness studies.
Studies of life satisfaction around the world are now enhanced by regular polling in many countries using a broad range of questions, and have led to consistent findings in recent years that the highest levels of satisfaction are found in such northern European countries as Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden—countries with a strong sense of social solidarity and attention to work-life balance, small income gaps, and—contrary to the thinking of American conservatives—high taxation rates.
These studies find that many relatively income-poor nations, such as Costa Rica and Colombia, also have high rates of life satisfaction, leading one group of British researchers to establish a “Happy Planet Index,” dividing life satisfaction scores by ecological footprints. They find that many so-called developing countries actually rank at the top of their index.