chapter  12
7 Pages

National differences in happiness

International social surveys have shown large differences in the average happiness and satisfaction of nations. Part of the evidence that these differences are genuine comes from findings about the correlates, perhaps causes, of national happiness-average income, individualism and social equality for example. This is potentially of great practical importance, as it may suggest how whole countries might be made happier. We will consider another possible explanation, that there are different social norms for whether happiness should be expressed, and this may influence how questions about happiness are answered. So we turn to objective measures. We also look at ethnic differences within countries, and at the subjective well-being scores of different countries. Finally we ask if there have been any historical changes in happiness.