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How does the UK economy affect national well-being? The ONS is trying to answer this exact question by looking at indicators such as UK wealth, household saving rates and employment.


It is not uncontrollable technological and social change that has produced a two-tier society, Stiglitz argues, but the exercise of political power by moneyed interests over legislative and regulatory processes.


The failure of so many people to empathise with the reality of life for poor people is a major barrier to poverty reduction


Addressing these issues collectively rather than pitting them against one another is key for creating a better future.


So many of us work long, hard hours to provide for our families and children-often long hours away from home, maybe taking on extra jobs at times or hoping to get a raise in an effort to make our lives richer financially–working harder at the expense of sleeping and taking good care of ourselves in order to have extra money. It seems so many of us just aren’t content with what we have now. But is there a point at which striving to earn or acquire extra money can be counterproductive? Or, in other words, when having extra money just doesn’t make us “happy” anymore?


The government has recently published the Index of Wellbeing, or rather the ‘happiness index’. It was an attempt to measure the general happiness of the population and tailoring government policies to promote ‘well being’ and ‘happiness’. According to Professor Richard Layard, director of the Wellbeing programme at the LSE, this new index is a great step towards creating ‘policy-making with wellbeing as a priority’. In other words, we all have a ‘duty to be happy’, and the government will enact policies to ensure this duty is realized.


Measuring Happiness is often discussed in the media. The theme never really varies. Is this happiness? Can we define happiness? Does this work for everybody? It’s all so…unsatisfactory. People get bogged down in definitions, lose the big picture. So, allow me to turn away from happiness for the time being and look at the broader concept of wellbeing.


The happiest person in the UK lives on a remote island off Scotland, is married, over 65, in good health and a homeowner, suggests the government’s first happiness index. So would you swap your life for theirs?


Post from ubercrunchers Ugo Gentilini (World Food Programme) and Andy Sumner(Institute of Development Studies).


FTdata is a collaborative effort from journalists across the FT working in data journalism.


Economist Richard Layard is a champion of the government’s new national wellbeing index. Philosopher Julian Baggini thinks the attempt to measure happiness is totalitarian. With the first set of results out next week, Susanna Rustin meets them.


The type of happiness you experience affects your choices.


Dr. Mike Biddle — the founder of a company that extracts and recycles hard-to-sort plastics from the world’s waste stream — has won the 2012 Gothenberg Award.


This week marks the end of a year long project to understand social justice in Seattle. This project is important because it is one of the first that tells us in real numbers what social justice – or injustice is. It gives us a comprehensive way to measure equity – and inequity, It makes it clear that Seattle may be a happy city for some, but may not be such a great place to live if you are not wealthy or privileged with access to resources.


In this guest post, ODI’s Claire Melamed, Emma Samman and Laura Kiku Rodriguez-Takeuchi pitch for partners for some work on developing new wellbeing metrics in development. Any takers?


The US has seen the first rise in carbon dioxide emissions since the 2008 recession, new data shows. Meanwhile China has sped into the lead as the world gathers for the Rio+20 summit. See how each country compares


This week is Earth Summit week on the blog, making my small contribution to the wonk feeding frenzy already in full flow in advance of next week’s Rio+20 event.


When it comes to debates about world hunger, mouthwash – more fragrant PR than finding long-term solutions to feeding the planet without destroying it – is just as much of a problem as the greenwash the abounds in environmental fora.


Why are the country’s contingency plans for a euro collapse being left in the hands of financial technocrats?


Women’s rights are under attack in Egypt. We must support civil society in the face of attempts to restrict personal freedoms


We can overcome the problems of delivering collective action on climate change by treating mining, deforestation, ocean degradation and more as violations of human rights


Early last week, the government of Bhutan hosted a high-level UN summit on a topic that isn’t often discussed in the usually serious halls of Turtle Bay: well-being and happiness. The South Asian country, nestled between India, China, and Bangladesh, has never been keen on measuring itself the way most countries do: the size of their economies. They prefer a different measure: Gross National Happiness.


As David Cameron prepares to chair the High Level Panel charged with designing a successor to the Millennium Development Goals, he should be in no doubt that he faces a tough job.


The budget promises to be the near-perfect device for accelerating all the forces that divide us


The World Bank’s latest data suggests a decline in global poverty throughout every region of the developing world, as well as the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goal on halving poverty well ahead of schedule. But is this really the ‘good news’ that we are led to believe?


As more and more of the world gets internet access, it’s tempting to measure progress in emerging economies by the number of people online. Is there a better or more revealing way of measuring relative strengths? How about the internet economy as a proportion of GDP?


A friend who I’ll call Brian crashed with me recently. He’s been living abroad for a while since his business is handled entirely online and his cost of living is much lower there.


The nation’s wellbeing took a backward step in the final three months of last year as falling commodity prices helped cause the biggest drop in national income since the global financial crisis . . . but a boom in kindergarten enrolments meant the nation’s stock of human capital grew 1.7 per cent. . . . “We may be looking at the first signs of the luck running out,” said the chief executive of Lateral Economics and the lead author of the index, Nicholas Gruen.


Worldwide, women remain at a disadvantage relative to men and the same is true in the Middle East and North Africa MENA region.


The UK’s ever-growing well-being data set will prove hugely important for future policy making.


Happiness Index research has found a Britain where a lot of people never meet anyone who is of a different ethnic background



We can now add something else to the growing list of things money alone can’t buy: love, happiness–and strong performance in PISA.


Club de Madrid mission entitled “Consolidation of new political structures and Constitutional implementation


Twitter recently introduced me to a US-based enterprise called Blue Zones, which says its aim is show communities, schools, businesses and individuals how to be healthier, to live longer, and to be happier.


A profit-led economic strategy did not work even during the boom. What the world needs is job-based growth






The fifth annual MetLife survey of American ideals shows an interesting trend: priorities are shifting from achieving professional success and material wealth to having a greater sense of personal fulfillment. The survey found that slightly more respondents chose personal fulfillment as the key to fulfilling the American dream rather than having enough money. After decades of working more and bringing home less, are we reaching the point where the American dream focuses on quality and not quantity?



Almost a year to the start of the “Arab Spring”, political unrest and political economy issues have been key determinants of economic policy and prospects for growth in a large number of countries.


It is time to take stock of our current climate trajectory, and consider what it means for climate policy


Aid alone is not enough, but transparency and accountability are essential if tax revenues are to be used to plug the financing gap


Global Editors Network in conjunction with Google and the European Journalism Centre launched the first ever international data journalism awards this morning, here’s what happened


Tony Butler reports back on the Happy Museum symposium and the six organisations exploring new models of wellbeing


If your policy is one of austerity it is advisable to use something other than economic growth as a measure of your success

Technical innovation is essential for people to be able to make more effective use of the resources available to them and to respond to social, economic and environmental changes.


Twelve months ago, Milome Brilliere Elementary in Port-au-Prince was still operating out of a temporary structure made of canvas and old wood.


User-generated internet content is weighted towards the global north; the division of digital labour urgently needs rebalancing


Uncertainty rules as we head into 2012…If you go in for such things, there’s a Chinese proverb that says ‘To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous’.


Europe is in crisis – but what’s going on? Which are the right key numbers to compare each country?


Advances in our society during recent years have been largely boosted by great leaps in technological innovation, especially in the ICT sector.


Local government has been left of the ONS consultation on happiness and wellbeing, despite years of expertise in gathering local data on the subject


The World Bank Group and the African Development Bank, with the support of the African Union, are producing a new ‘flagship’ report on how ICTs, especially mobile phones, have the potential to change fundamental business models in key sectors for Africa.


Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic gains came under threat this year, but public demands for good governance to address the continent’s problems holds promise for the future


The promise of a world in which we collect massive amounts of data is that it will change our behavior for the better. But in a sea of data, how can we make sure that we’re not just reacting to the information in front of our face, but rather analyzing every possible input?


Nine months into Syria’s uprising and the peaceful protests against the regime of Bashar Assad are now accompanied by a growing insurgency.


The gross domestic product of the United States — that oft-cited measure of economic health — has been ticking upward for the last two years.


After five years in production „The Economics of Happiness“ has been released and the Austrian premier was on 15th December at Burgkino.


Researcher and demographer Scott Thomas of American City Business Journals put together an exhaustive study and came up with a quality of life ranking for nearly 3,800 communities using 20 different criteria that cover everything from ease of commuting to household incomes to housing stock to educational attainment and cost of living.


High rates of youth unemployment across the Middle East and North Africa were a major catalyst for the Arab Spring revolutions.


Students in Leeds have designed their own democracy using one of nef’s publications.


While the global humanitarian response system is more effective and sophisticated than ever before, in its current form it’s being outstripped by the pace of increasing risks.


Interesting on growth rates in the developing world and Earth’s limitations, Sachs is less persuasive on his most familiar theme


Normally I avoid discussions about the future of NGOs like the plague – they either involve a bunch of academics with only the vaguest idea of what we actually do all day, or a lot of senior managers emitting sonorous pronouncements on how we need to be more agile in a multi-polar world and use twitter a lot.


Professor Thandika Mkandawire is LSE’s Chair of African Development. In this short video, he looks at the current rejuvenation of tertiary education in Africa and outlines how LSE can contribute through its African Initiative.


Much of the discussion at the HLF-4 in Busan last week, as well in the months leading up to the event, was focused on forging consensus around a new global development cooperation partnership framework that would accommodate the interests and unique cooperation modalities of new partners such as China, Brazil, and India.


nef’s Juliet Michaelson’s appearance on Canadian TV’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin.


Look at 2011’s most significant events, those that will have an indelible impact on our future.


The OECD inequality report shows how countries across the developed world are getting less equal.


Why don’t we talk about violence more? That was the question posed to a bunch of Oxfamistas this week by Jenny Pearce, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University.











Increasing agricultural productivity in Africa and removing trade restrictions are our best hope for feeding the planet








The Summit in question is on ‘The Future of Philanthropy and Development in the Pursuit of Human Wellbeing’ (catchy, eh?), hosted by Rockefeller, the UK Institute for Development Studies and the Resource Alliance and bringing together philanthropic foundations, ‘impact investors’, NGOs and academics, with a decent geographical spread of people.

An important signal will go out from the various national roundtables on measuring well-being on whether we draw the right lessons from the financial crisis and develop indicator systems that overcome the weaknesses of GDP. We have a historic chance to develop measures of progress which give us meaningful information about people’s real quality of life as a basis for public policy. Why not start by asking people how happy they are?

By putting a price on unhappiness we can understand the need for a gentler response to the economic crisis

A perspective on Nigeria seen through the Human Development Index and the Mo Ibrahim Index of Governance.

A perspective on Nigeria seen through the Human Development Index and the Mo Ibrahim Index of Governance.

The calamitous effects of Pakistan’s floods show that vulnerable communities need a cogent disaster risk reduction strategy.

How can a post-2015 agreement be designed to generate traction on both national and global decision makers?

The G20 make up 80% of the world’s GDP. The Guardian Data Blog has created a diagram of world financial power breaking down population, GDP per capita, unemployment rates and human development indicators for each of the G20 economies.

A STIMULATING report released last week by the OECD, a think tank, attempts to measure people’s well-being across 40 developed countries.


Even though we seem to be hardwired for envy, the government can do a lot to boost national wellbeing.


Duncan Green on New York Times infographic


Half the world’s population lacks access to modern energy, but efforts to end power poverty by 2030 are gaining real momentum.


Top performing nations focus on policies that enhance contentment, security, human opportunities


Jonathan Gray gives a sneak preview of what will happen at the Open Government Data Camp 2011, the world’s biggest open data event to date, which will take place in Warsaw on 20-21st October


Growth and relative poverty are no longer enough to tell us whether our economy is on the right track.


Are people happier now than they were 50 years ago?


Jeffrey Sachs’s latest book is a diagnosis of current social and financial ills


We’ll deal with the bad news some other day. Today, we’re going to stick with this good news. People in the developed countries are going to stop thinking so much about GDP, which measures the gross amount of economic activity.


Happiness is grabbing an enormous amount of attention in terms of global public policy. A resolution passed at the UN General Assembly in July stated that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal” embodying the globally agreed targets in the Millennium Development Goals.


In 1985 Amartya Sen published a very short book entitled Commodities and Capabilities. The book was reissued by Oxford after Sen received his Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.


It’s about 1,500 days until the end of 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are supposed to have been met. Some will be, some won’t be…But finding new goals is not the point. The point is to find the global agreement that is most effective at promoting development.


Measuring anything requires us to define it. What then does “progress” mean: development, growth, evolution, civilisation ……?


From Kenya to Ethiopia, policymakers are looking east in the search for an adaptable development blueprint


Every NGO (and probably most other organizations) has its iconic success stories, the ones that make your job feel both feasible and worthwhile.


Citizenship survey results are out and they show a rise in trust for local councils and Parliament. How happy are people with where they live?


Testing times have forced a rethink of traditional assumptions about development, but changing tack won’t be easy


Where are people losing their jobs? Which are the university hotspots for sciences? Find the latest statistics from the OECD showing how science, technology and industry trends compare by country


The politics of well-being is increasingly a global phenomenon, which is impacting on the thinking and approaches of agencies, multilaterals and charities working in the developing world. Where once the ‘Washington Consensus’ reigned supreme, now governments and agencies are increasingly thinking in broader, more holistic terms, about how aid and interventions affect communities’ well-being, rather than simply their GDP and average income levels.


Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton chaired the first-ever Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy in San Francisco, California.



Which country spends the most on education? Which country has the highest wage for teachers? Find the latest statistics from the OECD showing how education compares


In keeping with Toynbee’s “Law of Progressive Simplification,” a powerful measure of the progress of civilizations will be the degree to which we shift from a global economy based on material growth to one that consciously includes non-material development.


Since ancient times, happiness has been universally seen as a good. Problems arise when we try to agree on a definition of happiness, and to measure it.


A double-video post! The first is a very short speech by Robert Kennedy about what is included in GDP and what is excluded.


It is easier to point out the problems than find a systemic solution, but it is vital that we are able to articulate a better future.


As the planet braces for more weather disturbances — Hurricane Irene and Typhoon Mina come to mind — the economy continues its fall as the Federal Reserve is expected to announce another round of stimulus spending to aid the ailing global economy.


Despite the highest GDP per resident, the citizens of the Croatian capital are not satisfied with their quality of life.


Prioritising development over liberty and rights may only paper over the political cracks and postpone inevitable conflict


The UN has estimated that $2.5bn is needed for the humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa, particularly to tackle famine in Somalia. Find out which countries have donated funds so far – and where the money’s going.


In part 1 of this three-part series, Sebastian Doggart explored how Americans are holiday-averse. In part 2, he investigated why this phenomenon has happened; in this final part, he asks whether it’s all been worth it.


It is a graphic demonstration of the sickening, symbiotic relationship between hunger and conflict and highlights food supply problems from Somalia to India to Spain


Cary Cooper believes the penny has finally dropped for organisations.


America is a country of vast wealth and vast anxiety. America’s high Gross National Product per person, around $50,000, and its vast net worth, around $500,000 per household, are among the highest in the world.


Whatever replaces the MDGs must respond to critics of the original goals. This means targets must be tailored to the needs of individual countries and more people must be involved in the process.


The Colombian government’s adoption of a new poverty index may be politically advantageous, but it will address inequality


What do people do after they lose their jobs, other than look for a new one?


I was in Kansas last week for TEDxKC. The venue for the event was spectacular: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.


A new Gallup poll is out, measuring the well-being of the residents of America’s 50 states.


The dust had hardly settled from South Sudan’s Independence Day celebrations before the National Bureau of Statistics of South Sudan formerly known as the Southern Sudan Center for Census, Statistics and Evaluation, released the new country’s first estimate of GDP.


Economist Diane Coyle, a visiting professor at the University of Manchester and former advisor to the British government, sees the recent worldwide financial crisis as a valuable opportunity to grapple with fundamental shortcomings in the creation and measurement of economic policy.


The unrest in Libya is growing and the EU has donated more than £130m in aid. How much has each country given?


Maybe you don’t need yoga or a comedy show to boost your mood, just give yourself a few more years and you’ll cheer up naturally


The reigning policy orientation today holds that greater economic growth leads to greater wellbeing or prosperity.


It’s two decades since the USSR broke up. But what happened to those Soviet countries? Here’s the key data


We must draw on our experience of development co-operation to ensure climate change funds are effectively used


Middle-income countries might be rising in number, but let’s not forget per-capita income is only a limited indicator of poverty


We live in increasingly chaotic times. Political events seem to flow from crisis to crisis.


Can GDP and happines be decoupled? Does economic growth equal happiness?


In 1995 the think tank Redefining Progress took MEW and ISEW a step further with its Genuine Progress Indicator, which adjusts not only for environmental damage and resource depletion, but also for income distribution, volunteering, crime, changes in leisure time, and the lifespan of consumer durables and public infrastructures.


In the week that the banks failed – that strange week in October 2008, where everything seemed to be unravelling – I ventured into the City Business Library, in its familiar, slightly unkempt building off London Wall.


Memo to politicians: Stop promising to grow GDP and start targeting social benefits you can actually deliver—or prepare to face angry mobs. Nothing grows forever on a finite planet, not even the US economy.


Data journalist Matt Stiles has taken our data on deprivation – and the riot incidents over the last few days and mashed the two up together. The darker reds represent poorer places, the blues are the richer areas.


The GDP simply measures the value added in an economy in a year. It is a measure of production and consumption in market transactions.


Jimmy Wales has suggested that more women need to get involved with editing the online encyclopedia, but what is putting them off in the first place?


Whoever coined the phrase “your health is your wealth” may have been on to something.


Greece is in crisis and youth unemployment is rocketing. Find unemployment rates by age and region across the country


In good governance circles, we love to champion accountability tools: citizen score cards, civil society-local government linkages, participatory budgeting, etc. They sound wonderful on paper, and frequently work well off paper, but one can sometimes detect a certain weariness on the part of the supposed recipients/beneficiaries of these tools.


New technologies provide the development sector with powerful tools to carry out its work more effectively, but they also introduce risks.


Mr. Cameron, I do not doubt your sincerity in trying to improve the aggregate wellbeing of the population through the compilation of a “happiness index”.


Gross National Happiness has been brought to the UN in an attempt to increase happiness across the world


We’ve seen mixed reviews for the recent (ONS) announcements on options for a national wellbeing index to run alongside GDP.


The UN has officially recognised that GDP doesn’t accurately reflect quality of life. But getting the methodology right for an alternative well-being indicator will be tricky.


This spring, the city fathers in Somerville, Mass., decided to add a new question to their census form: “How happy do you feel right now?” as The New York Times reports.


The government’s attempt to measure wellbeing is not a “gimmick” but can tackle inequalities and aid recovery from mental health problems, says a leading charity.


International evidence is increasingly pointing to management skills and processes as an important part of the productivity puzzle.


A new study suggests Americans’ happiness declines when there’s a wider gap between rich and poor.


The idea of measuring happiness — or well-being — might seem a slippery undertaking.


Britain’s Office for National Statistics announced today that it has decided to measure the nation’s well-being for the first time ever.


There are two pieces of news emerging from the government’s new happiness index that may slot neatly into the category of the blindingly obvious.


Excuse the light posting these days; I’m in the process of selling my house and moving, and so lots of non-blogging-type things keep absorbing what I have for spare time.


Can you really measure wellbeing and happiness? The Office for National Statistics has published plans to measure how content we are. But how would they work?


The review of Singapore’s economic growth forecast made front-page news last week.


The UN General Assembly has adopted a non-binding resolution that will acknowledge “happiness” as an indicator of a country’s success.


Resources are available to county’s unemployed to get them back on track


Last week, more than 59 governments and 100 civil society groups joined the Government of Brazil and the United States to announce the Open Government Partnership in Washington, DC.


In September 2010, an eclectic group of 25 men and women were brought together at Gravetye Manor to give our best thoughts on the subject of “flourishing”.


As David Cameron visits Africa this week, we wanted to look at what the data says about the state of key countries below the Sahara. Click on the graphic below and change the indicators to see how they compare over time – or just click on the country names you’re interested in to compare two or more


Ahead of the 2015 deadline for the millennium development goals, the debate about future targets is gathering momentum


Every January, International Living Monthly ranks and rates 190 countries in terms of their quality of life.


The government says making data public through the Kenya Open Data Initiative is key to improving transparency


It’s been more than 20 years since the United Nations Development Programme started publishing annual Human Development Reports.


Zambia and Ghana are the 27th and 28th countries the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income since the year 2000


As Tanzania embraces “Kilimo Kwanza” without gender eyes, civil organizations are mitigating the gap by investing in women small holder farmers as one of the smartest ways to fight poverty, food insecurity, starvation and improve the well-being of families and the entire nation.


Today, the reigning policy orientation holds that the path to greater well-being is to grow and expand the economy.


A Pacific regional meeting on aid and development effectiveness has reinforced an international call for people to be brought to the centre of development and that development co-operation and aid effectiveness processes are people centered, respect …


A recent study suggests how acts of kindness can have a far-reaching ripple effect.


Data released last week and reported in this newspaper indicates that the economy has improved significantly – but for large companies, not for most individuals.


The Sunday Business section of the New York Times prominently featured an image of a huge vault overflowing with bits and bytes.


Nigel Roberts, co-director of the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report, speaks with AusAid’s ODE Talks. The podcast and transcripts available below and at ODE Talks.


Watch live debate on the 4th of July


Take heart. If you can live to at least 65 years old, you’ll feel a lot better about yourself.


Here is an excellent new video on the relationship between economic freedom and economic and social well-being.


Conventional indicators of development are being seen as unsatisfactory. The need for higher GDP leads to productive systems and consumption patterns that are not in harmony with the carrying capacity of the environment and our planet.


ow do you define a better life? The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 34 countries comprised chiefly of the world’s affluent democracies, is taking its turn to answer this ageless question with its Better Life Initiative.


When measuring the success of a country, many look to measure its GDP.


The Charles Koch Foundation has released a great video that underscores the importance of economic freedom. Milton Friedman long-ago argued that, without economic freedom, all other freedoms are vulnerable.


When per capita contribution to gross domestic product reaches $10,000, democracy becomes “eternal,” according to a Renaissance Capital report.


The open data movement is making progress in France: while the government is working on a national open data initiative, a group of open data organisations have drafted a Declaration on Open Data in France.


Now, when Uni is finished, I can finally read for my own pleasure. In one of the books I have been reading, I came across the concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’ and decided that I have to share it with those who follow the USE blog.


“GDP, the so-called measure of economic growth, does not separate costs from benefits.” Herman Daly, World Bank Economist, author of “Steady State Economics.”


Despite rising inequality, addressing the issue never seems to reach the top of the policy agenda. But addressing inequality is essential if we are to tackle poverty and conflict.


Published regularly since 2002, the UN-sponsored Arab Human Development Reports make for some pretty disheartening reading.


The panel on “the challenges of urban development” in the Mind the Gap Conference that took place in Cuernavaca June 15-17 included presentations by Marco Gonzalez from the University of Toronto…


From any tall building in Guatemala City you have a bird’s eye view of a common site in cities across Latin America and the Caribbean: lodged in the alleys and walkways between modern highrises, low tin-roof structures shelter the hard world of the informal economy.


Anyone deeply concerned about the current almost unprecedented real unemployment rate of more than 18% and about the ongoing jobless recovery must first focus on resuscitating our depleted manufacturing sector.


I’m a strong proponent of both attempting to use happiness as a measurement of national success and using alternatives to GDP towards the same ends–and it seems the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development is starting to agree with that.


Almost 1.6 billion people on the planet don’t have access to electricity.


While the U.S. economic system still struggles to survive, some wait for its eventual demise. The optimistic types say we are slowly turning around.


If you’re the United States, it’s having your people own a lot of homes, make a lot of money, go far in school, vote and try to get the work-life balance right.


Nic Marks finds himself musing over the shortcomings of conventional economic appraisal while watching Andy Murray’s latest performance.


While the Millennium Development Goals and human rights are often thought of as separate concepts, synergies exist in practic


Capitalism was founded on a simple principle: I create a product or service that provides you with a benefit, and you pay me.


Recent social commentary has heralded men’s supposedly diminished role in American society and families. One piece went so far as to proclaim the “end of men.”


What matters most to you? Clean air? More income? Health? Work-life balance?


An agreement on better monitoring and reporting of environmental data should be a first step towards measuring the EU economy on a wider basis than GDP, according to MEPs, who approved legislation on “environmental economic accounts” on Tuesday and will vote on a non-binding resolution on “Beyond GDP” on Wednesday.


The World Bank’s latest update on the world economy leads with a message for developing countries…


At first glance, achieving these goals promptly in a country like Nigeria may seem like a pipedream.


Geoff Mulgan is Chief Executive of NESTA, former Chief Executive of The Young Foundation and a co-founder of Action for Happiness, which was launched in April. William Davies, editor of OurKingdom’s Happiness Debate, met up with him to dig deeper into the philosophy and politics of the happiness agenda.


How do you measure human well-being? How do you fully account for the impact of human interventions in poor regions like in Iraq? What costs are paid by the citizens of one country for the consumer demands of another?


First brought to us in 2007 by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the Global Peace Index (GPI) is the world’s leading measure of national peacefulness.


Surprising insights from the social sciences


A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law.


What makes people happy? The question, which has been debated by philosophers for centuries, now is being tackled by international bureaucrats and the results are interesting, to say the least.


The American economy might be recovering, but the Americans themselves aren’t feeling the satisfaction.


In thinking about happiness, I recently sat down and composed a kind of personal credo. In it, I reflected that as I approach 70 it’s become ever more clear that, in the time left to me there are very few things on which I can really focus.


OECD, with the help of Moritz Stefaner and Raureif, promote a well-being index beyond GDP in the Better Life Initiative…


After 2008, we entered a ‘beyond-growth’ economy, argues Jules Peck


We have just released our latest estimates and outlook for remittance flows to developing countries (see brief). Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries recovered quickly to $325 billion in 2010 after the global financial crisis.


A decade ago I lectured to the staff of the Ministry of Health in Cuba. After my talk the Minister happily said, this graphs showed that Cuba is the healthiest of the poor countries! On the way out a young staff member whispered in my ear…


How much is each Nato country contributing to operations in Libya? Here’s the most comprehensive analysis yet of who is doing what


The more you know about your enemy, the easier it is to beat it. This is true for wars against armies, diseases or corruption — good information will tell you where to best deploy your soldiers, doctors and auditors.


Erik Hersman has pioneered the use of technology to monitor crises, elections and services in Africa, and says it is transforming the continent faster than anyone predicted


A new book explodes the myth that the poor can’t be trusted with direct cash transfers because they make ‘bad’ life decisions


A collaboration between the UN and Google presents information on the state of the world’s poverty and development in graphics


Does the Eastern Caribbean education system adequately prepare youth for the global economy?


How do the latest GDP growth figures show the UK’s position in the EU – and across the OECD?


The Boston suburb of Somerville wants to become the first in the United States to systematically track people’s happiness by creating a well-being index that they can track over time, reports the New York Times.


Most of New Zealand’s urban dwellers continue to perceive they have a high quality of life, according to the results of a nation-wide survey released today.


While the UK starts to explore the possibilities of “Nudge” economics, Ecuador seems to have been doing something similar for years – and with a green twist too.


Inspiration comes from the strangest of places. About a year ago, I was talking with my good friend Agustín at a party -yes, this is the kind of conversation I get distracted with when I socialize!


Ahead of next week’s conference in Turkey on the world’s least developed countries, some leading participants outline plans and targets to reduce poverty


Gallup’s global wellbeing surveys in 2010 reveal that a median of 21% across 124 countries were “thriving” last year, based on how people rated their lives at the current time and their expectations for the next five years.


Coro, April 24th 2011 ( – The results of the Gallup Organisation’s most recent poll on wellbeing placed Venezuela in sixth place out of 124 countries. The poll, which was published on Thursday, is the result of a series of telephone and face-to-face surveys conducted between February and December 2010.


In Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding—and How We Can Improve the World Even More, Charles Kenny argues that Africans are seeing a much higher quality of life despite what their nations’ gross domestic product measurements show.


Healthways (HWAY) and Gallup recently announced the results of the Gallup-Healthways Monthly U.S. Well-Being Report for March 2011. The component indices for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (“WBI”) were, on the whole, level with the sequentially prior month. In addition, the overarching Well-Being Index composite measure remained low at 66.3.


In a recent study conducted by Gallup on global well being in 2010 reveals that of the 124 countries surveyed, majority population in only 19 countries — mostly in Europe and the Americas — considered themselves to be ‘thriving’.


Denmark is the most contented country in the world, with almost two-thirds of residents describing themselves as “thriving,” according to a new Gallup study. The United States ranks as the 12th-happiest country, with 59 percent of residents saying they’re thriving.


Do we really know what the poor need? This is the most crucial question for a development institution such as the Inter-American Development Bank: collect pieces of information that allow designing projects that tackle the needs of the poor. Identifying those needs that are the most urgent is harder than it seems.


In his Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations Adam Smith pointed to the social-inclusion role of a linen shirt in 18th century Europ…


The IDB partners with the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Development to promote dialogue on critical issues and areas of emerging interest in early childhood development


As we look forward to what we seek to accomplish at the beginning of this new decade, isn’t now a good time to advocate a different type of framework for living, a new prosperity, one that is simply more evolved in its vision and can lead to a greater sense of subjective well-being?


With the Royal Wedding weeks away, all eyes are trained on the UK.


“What does well-being mean to you?” was the questioned debated by individuals representing a variety of public organisations, research institutions and other groups from across the North East.


The nation that has most successfully pursued happiness, is the small Scandinavian country of Denmark. Using the CIA’s website for data, (yes, that CIA is our Central Intelligence Agency) Denmark’s unemployment rate is between


The AmericasBarometer survey has recently published their biannual report, The Political Culture of Democracy in El Salvador. Funded by USAID and other organizations, it focuses on a multitude of social and economic factors and their effect on citizen’s evaluation of democracy in El Salvador.


n the English-language leadership debate, we heard a lot of talk about the economy, but a deafening silence about the environment and where our energy policies are leading us.


Tuesday saw the launch of Lord Layard’s Action for Happiness movement. There are many things worth applauding in the initiative, but also some important pitfalls they should be careful to avoid.


Is there a science of happiness? A growing band of economists, politicians and academics thinks so – and is putting theory into practice by starting a “mass movement for a happier society.”


BBC Radio 4’s Today programme had a debate yesterday morning (12th April 2011) about whether the UK government can and should concern itself with the happiness of its citizens.


An American psychologist whose work inspired David Cameron’s plan to measure national wellbeing has warned that the UK Prime Minister might be trying to measure the wrong thing.


The human cost of the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire has been all too clear, with almost daily reports of deaths and casualties. Against that background, it can seem callous to discuss the economic cost.


Back in the 1960s, pioneering gay activists found an obscure passage from a 1948 book written by prominent sex researcher Alfred Kinsey that read, “10 percent of the males are more or less exclusively homosexual . . . for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.”

The current economic mess has many alleged causes, from greedy bankers and over-generous Chinese lenders, to financially illiterate home buyers and regulators asleep at the wheel.


The study, published in the latest issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, is based on a Gallup World Poll that reached about 1,000 people in each of 128 countries, obtaining a total of more than 130,000 responses.


The China Alternative is our series on other manufacturing destinations in Asia that are now starting to compete with China in terms of labor costs, infrastructure and operational capacity. In this issue we look at Bhutan.


Living to an unhappy old age


An annual Head-of-State sponsored Global Peace Convention is to be established locally to measure the progress on peace and development initiatives and advance new partnerships.


You can’t encourage volunteering by cutting the professionals who the volunteers depend on.


“Earth hour” took place this past Saturday at 8:30 p.m., when individuals turned off their lights for one hour to support the mission “to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.”


Colorado is the fifth healthiest state in the nation, according to the 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Survey. That’s in the top five in country, with only Hawaii, Wyoming, North Dakota and Arkansas ranking higher. In 2009 Colorado only ranked 9th in the nation.


She is married, self-employed, former tennis champion and has scored an ace in the happiness stakes.


My print column this week examines happiness, and how to measure it. The U.K. is among several countries to contemplate collecting happiness measures, a primary pursuit of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which continues its project to construct a Gross National Happiness measure.


Blogs on progress – General


Progress in human well-being blogs

Progress in poverty blogs

Science and technology progress blogs

Blogs on Development

Progress in economics & business blogs

Environmental progress blogs



For blog posts on progress prior to 2011, see:

See also