Nov 2020

Today in my Inbox: can you measure happiness?

In this series, I write about the articles from some newsletters that caught my attention the most.

Today's is an article from the blog of B.BIAS written by Alessandra Elise that explores Happiness definition and measurement from a behavioral economics perspective.

Happiness economics examines the relation between satisfaction and economic issues.

So, according to happiness economics, there are factors of wealth that could determine happiness or life satisfaction.

The author explores three methods to measure well-being:

  1. The economic: using Gross Domestic Product as an index.
  2. The sociological one: based on the Human Development Index.
  3. The psychological: to ask people directly how happy they think they are (self-assessment). Of course, the first one is inherently flawed; an index such as GDP is too shallow and broad for measuring happiness.

The second one is better for measuring the well-being of a population, but it's not a measurement of happiness.

The last one makes sense; if you want to know how happy is someone, then ask!

To me, happiness is a "special" state that spikes sometimes but can't be a constant; therefore, any measure of happiness will result (in the best case) in a snapshot, that's true only for that moment in time.