12 Feb What Price Happiness?
What Price Happiness?
From Little India
Statisticians are also interested in happiness
France is turning to two Nobel Prize winners to develop an economic measure of happiness.
U.S. economist Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel economics prize and a critic of free market economists, and Armatya Sen of India, who won the 1998 Nobel prize for work on developing countries, will lead development of the measure.
Sen helped create the United Nations’ Human Development Index, a yearly welfare indicator that includes measures for health and living standards.
Once the preserve of philosophers, measuring happiness is now a hot topic in economics.
Says Richard Layard, a professor at the London School of Economics and author of the 2005 book Happiness: Lessons from a New Science: “People don’t want to think they live in a world of ruthless competition where everyone is against everyone. Valuable things are being lost, such as community values, solidarity.”
Jean-Philippe Cotis, head of France’s statistics office Insee, said a measure of happiness would complement GDP by taking into account factors such as leisure time – something France has a lot of.
‘statisticians are also interested in happiness,” he said.