Mesurer et comparer le bonheur des sociétés


Does Money Matter ? Determining the Happiness of Canadians

Andrew Sharpe, Ali Ghanghro, Erik Johnson et Anam Kidwai, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, Research Report No. 2010-09, 138 pages

Traduction du résumé :

Does Money Matter

« Le 23 novembre 2010, le Centre for the Study of Living Standards a publié cette étude importante sur les facteurs influençant le bonheur des Canadiens.

Le rapport, qui s’appuie sur des données sur 70 000 Canadiens provenant du Canadian Community Health Survey de Statistique Canada et préparé en partenariat avec l’Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity (ICP), fournit une analyse complète de la géographie du bonheur au Canada.

Il quantifie les nombreuses variables qui déterminent le bonheur et explique les variations dans les provinces, les région métropolitaines et des régions socio-sanitaires.

Does Money Matter -1

Does Money Matter - 2

Le rapport offre un appui solide pour le rapport Stiglitz de 2009 qui recommande que l’accent soit mis sur le bonheur par rapport au PIB dans l’élaboration de politiques publiques. »


Emotional Prosperity and the Stiglitz Commission

Andrew J. Oswald, IZA DP No. 5390, 31 pages

Traduction du résumé :

Emotional Propsperity

« Cet article soutient - en accord avec les propositions de la Commission Stiglitz sur la mesure de la performance économique et du progrès social - que nous devrions mesurer la prospérité émotionnelle d’une nation plutôt que sa prospérité économique. Cet article recense les idées récentes dans ce domaine.

Il décrit également sept études récentes qui, de façon inquiétante, suggèrent que la prospérité émotionnelle diminue.

Pour les spécialistes du marché du travail, une question clé pour la recherche future est de savoir combien cette tendance à la baisse peut être associée à des pressions accrues dans la vie professionnelle. Cette question reste actuellement ouverte. »

Conclusions

 

This paper has argued that we should measure, and focus attention upon, emotional prosperity. The time-series facts described in the paper – looking particularly at the seven studies listed earlier -- seem sufficiently worrying to justify further research and to throw a confirming light on the concerns of the Stiglitz Commission.

 

What is it that goes wrong in a country as it gets richer? Although we do not yet know, one possibility is, as Green’s (2006) research suggests, that modern workitself may put extreme pressure on people. The Stiglitz report also emphasized the changed nature of today’s work tasks.

 

Nevertheless, more empirical research will be needed before we can be certain of the role of modern workplaces in the apparent drop in emotional prosperity.

 

A second possibility is that humans are animals of comparison (some of the latest evidence of the importance of relativities, from brain scans, is reported in Fliessbach et al 2007). What I want, if only subconsciously, may be to have three BMWs and for my friends to have old Fords. In well-off countries, the tide of economic growth lifts all boats and, unfortunately, where having two BMWs was unusual, eventually it becomes the norm and thus there is potentially a kind of generalised neutrality -- a sort of washing-out effect of the supposed benefits of economic progress. Easterlin (1974) made this form of argument and it is continued today in sources such as Clark et al (2008) and Layard (2010).

 

A third possible reason is that people may make bad choices and do things that, despite what they think, will not make them happier. Economists have resisted this idea (about so-called affective forecasting mistakes) for a long time; the economics profession has so far not listened to psychologists like Daniel Gilbert (2006); that may prove to be a significant mistake.