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with attached data. Cool to look through, though I surely can't vouch for either the concept or the execution. It does seem odd to say "UK [at 41st] doing better than most of our similar neighbours and competitors (France 62nd, Italy 50th, Spain 46th, Japan 90th, Chine 82nd, India 125th)," though "other counties did do better (Germany 35th, USA 23rd, Ireland 11th)," when (1) the raw scores for the UK, Spain, and Germany were 236.67, 233.33, and 240, and (2) the underlying phenomenon is so subjective and hard to measure that it's hard to imagine a 2% variation being remotely significant.

Thanks to Victor Steinbok for the pointer.

Erasmussimo:
Fascinating. I am struck by the fact that happiness seems to cut across some of the common lines. Who would have thought that Mongolians are so happy? We can see a few general trends: the rich countries are in general fairly happy. The Nordic countries seem to occupy most of the top spots. That certainly says something about the Nordic way of life. The northern tier of South American nations are suprisingly happy. Columbia? Venezuela? I would not have guessed that. Malaysia is also a surprise.

You learn something new everyday.
8.9.2006 5:04pm
Medis:
My theory: they got all the anger out of their systems when they were Vikings.
8.9.2006 5:13pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Intuitively, I would say that this is a bunch of hooey. Who'da thunk that the dirt-poor people of Bhutan ranked #8?
8.9.2006 5:28pm
cirby (mail):

Columbia? Venezuela? I would not have guessed that.


Well, they don't call it "happy powder" for nothing...
8.9.2006 5:31pm
Malvolio:
I hate to be an huge party-pooper here but this is a crock. Their definition of happiness is a long life with very little environmental impact. Suffice it to say that isn't my definition and I doubt it is many other people's.
8.9.2006 5:53pm
liberty (mail) (www):
my sentiments exactly, Malvolio. I think Econlog already debunked this one pretty well.
8.9.2006 6:06pm
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
Columbia over Germany? What is going on in Germany that makes it worse than living under a constant threat of being killed or kidnapped by drug lords?
8.9.2006 6:15pm
liberty (mail) (www):
Germany is capitalist, don't you know?
8.9.2006 6:32pm
ys:
I read a few quotes from the authors of this oeuvre when I found this item a few weeks ago. They thought that smaller countries are more collectivist and group happy, hence the nordics have done well. Then they wondered why other "collectivist" countries have not done as well as they should, e.g., India, China, Japan. Some research. Incidentally, the Nordic countries have been known for their higher than average rates of suicide. And not to prove the point, but go watch any of the better known Nordic movies and none of them, even the ones billed as comedies, will strike you as particularly cheerful.
Nevertheless, I like maps so much, I can sit and watch even this one for a while.
8.9.2006 6:42pm
Twill00 (mail):
Does anyone else find the "Access to Education" numbers (supposedly from UNSECO) odd? The U.S. is under a hundred and the UK is over 150. What are they measuring?
8.9.2006 7:01pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Ys:

Nordic gloom predates socialism: consider Ibsen, Undset, Munch.... Nineteenth century Scandinavians viewed North Dakota as an improvement.
8.9.2006 7:09pm
A.S.:
The underlying data for this map is, well, strange. Not only do they not explain why they chose the data sets they did, but they don't explain how they put the data together to create the index.

I would have more to say about this asinine index, but I'm afraid that whatever else I write would violate the "Comment Policy" below.
8.9.2006 7:16pm
frankcross (mail):
They didn't put the data together, the NEF did and you can find out about it by checking its site. There are lots of happiness measures, but they seem to be roughly similar.

I'm not sure what to make of happiness indices, though. They are very colored by relativity. If things seem to be getting better, people tend to be happier. If things seem not to be getting better, people tend to be less happy (even if their status is good).

Why is Bhutan so high? Well, the monarchy had banned TV and the internet until 1999. I suspect that suddenly getting these resources would make people very happy in the short term, until they took them for granted as in other nations.
8.9.2006 8:21pm
liberty (mail) (www):
"There are lots of happiness measures, but they seem to be roughly similar. "

Most happiness indexes use measures of pollutants?
8.9.2006 8:36pm
Unamused:
The map uses the New Economics Foundation's "Happy Planet Index." You thought this was about whether the people who live in these countries are happy? How naive. This is how it works:

Happy Planet Index = (Life Satisfaction * Life Expectancy)/Ecological Footprint.

No, really, I'm serious.
8.9.2006 9:23pm
frankcross (mail):
I don't think that is correct. The map used the first the "satisfaction" component of the Happy Planet Index, believe, and not the third, ecological footprint component that NEF later added.

Happiness indices don't use pollutants, but I don't think this data did either.
8.9.2006 9:41pm
Ilya Brook:
Something's rotten in Denmark.

Denmark ranks #1 in happiness.... but has the second highest rate of suicide among high GNP nations (http://www.mcdl.org/Stats/gnpsuicide.htm)
8.10.2006 12:18am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Heh, the study completely disregards civil liberties as a factor of happiness.
8.10.2006 2:52am
faeijgoei (mail):


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8.10.2006 3:51am
W. J. J. Hoge:
The map seems to show a high correlation between speaking English or one of the other Germanic languages and happiness.
8.10.2006 11:40am
Tom1111 (mail):
"Denmark ranks #1 in happiness.... but has the second highest rate of suicide among high GNP nations (http://www.mcdl.org/Stats/gnpsuicide.htm)"


Once you get rid of the bad apples....
8.10.2006 1:58pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Map's gone.

Cache of text of page: here
8.12.2006 6:09pm