UAE Minister of State for Happiness Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi addresses the World Government Summit. Credit: World Government Summit

PODCAST: Is “Gross National Happiness” the New GDP?

(World Government Summit, Dubai) – One of the key themes running through this conference is that happiness is not simply a matter of personal contentment, but should be treated as a public good. But that raises a two key questions: how can governments measure happiness and subsequently design policies that promote it?

These are questions that are currently on the fringes of public policy discourse in many countries economies, but not all. Last year the United Arab Emirates created a Ministry of Happiness and the government of Bhutan created an index to measure citizen well being. Still, these concepts are relatively new.

With me to discuss the intersection of happiness and public policy is economist Andrew Oswald who pioneered this line of study. We discuss how one actually measures and quantifies happiness in a way that’s relevant to public policy and also some of the political implications of a happy verses a discontented population. This is cutting edge stuff, and intellectually very interesting.

If you have 20 minutes and want to learn how happiness can be quantified and guide public policy — including as a possible anti-dote to populism — have a listen.

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