Monday, February 28, 2005

Happiness - according to Oswald and Layard


Sleeping around does not make people happier, according to some recent research; a monogamous relationship was the best way to maximise happiness.

see -

Richard Layard has written a book called 'Happiness.'

Layard says that a study of 50 countries has found that six factors can account for 80% of the variations in happiness.

These are
1. the divorce rate,
2. the unemployment rate,
3. the level of trust,
4. membership of non-religious organisations,
5. the quality of government
6. the fraction of the population that believes in God.

In the United Kingdom:
1. Divorce and unemployment are higher than they were 40 years ago,
2. the levels of trust, memberships of societies and religious belief are down.

Layard says happiness should become the overarching goal of government policy and comes up with a number of novel ideas for how this might be done, including:
1. compulsory classes in parenting at school,
2. lessons in emotional intelligence from the age of five,
3. greater security from being fired,
4. a more sceptical approach to the question of labour market flexibility.

· Happiness: Richard Layard; Allen Lane;
· Andrew Oswald's papers on happiness:

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