Tech UPTechnologyIs it true that some countries are happier than...

Is it true that some countries are happier than others?

The “welfare state” of different nations has been the object of study of many investigations. Based on certain indicators (such as health, life expectancy, freedom, or social support), the happiness that these areas experience has been measured and a ranking of “the happiest countries in the world” has been drawn up. However, a new study could end this theory for good.

The Australian National University (ANU) has put these happiness gauges in check and found that inequalities within nations have a greater influence on people’s happiness . This therefore disproves the myth of the happiest countries.

Study author Dr. Richard Burns says the findings question the usefulness and validity of happiness comparisons across nations . According to him, “emotional well-being doesn’t really vary much between them.”

The results thus suggest that people’s happiness could be improved if governments addressed inequalities in their own countries , improving the relationship between a living wage and day-to-day costs.

“If government policy helps improve people’s ability to live comfortably on their income, all of this could lead to an improvement in people’s happiness,” Burns says.

The tests of happiness

To determine to what extent happiness differed between nations, a study was conducted among 23 countries (all of European origin) based on 11 different well-being indicators. These markers include vitality, self-esteem, confidence, a sense of belonging, and satisfaction with life.

The feeling of those citizens of different nations who find meaning in their life, have self-esteem and confidence or live with a sense of belonging to a community (important indicators to measure happiness), is not actually related to the nation in which that live, “said Burns.

It was also analyzed, in addition, whether differences in happiness were attributed to a greater extent to factors between nations, or whether differences between people within countries influenced their happiness. The research also included data on the gross domestic product, the unemployment rate and the level of trust in the judiciary and political systems.

Of the 11 well-being indicators that were used, only one differed substantially between nations, that of life satisfaction . This has often been used as an important quality of life measure in economic, social and public health research, but according to the new study, it does not provide a complete picture of people’s happiness.

Reference: Richard A. Burns. The Utility of Between-Nation Subjective Wellbeing Comparisons Amongst Nations Within the European Social Survey, Journal of Happiness Studies (2018). DOI: 10.1007 / s10902-018-9964-4

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