3 thoughts on “£2m for the happiness survey was a bargain”

  1. Posted 08/08/2012 at 12:12 | Permalink

    Well spotted, Kristian. There is no reason to believe that the happiness analysis will produce any significant policy conclusions and people are beginning to realise this. Health, family and friends and religious belief seem to explain much of the variation in happiness between individuals and this means there is little that government can do. Unsurprising really but maybe worth a couple of million to have this confirmed.
    Incidentally, there is no “happiness survey” as such. The ONS has simply added four extra questions to the existing Integrated Household Survey, which includes the Labour Force Survey which we are obliged to carry out by the EU, and the Living Costs and Food Survey which is needed to form the basis of the RPI and CPI.

  2. Posted 10/08/2012 at 08:01 | Permalink

    There does seem to be some sort of inverse relationship between the level of happiness of the population in general and that of Polly Toynbee.

    However, Kristian, surely you realise by now that statistics mean only what Toynbee wants them to mean?

  3. Posted 11/08/2012 at 20:04 | Permalink

    I sometimes wonder what I would answer if asked to score my ‘happiness level’ out of 10. I certainly wouldn’t give an answer higher than 9, since my diabetes diet requires me to abstain from chocolate and ice cream, both of which I am (or would be) extremely fond of. Like most people who’ve managed to reach three score years and ten, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. BUT there are things I’ve not managed to achieve, family problems I could have done without, etc. It really depends what one’s ‘standards’ are. Perhaps it’s not appropriate to aim too high (and thus give a low score); but is it more so to aim too low (and thus be too easily satisfied)? What it boils down to, in my case, is that I might give a mark between 5 (I think I wouldn’t want to go below that) and, say, 8. I interpret that to mean: I find it very difficult to say at all precisely how ‘happy’ I am. Am I unique in that? I doubt it. So I would categorise any happiness ‘results’, as I would GDP growth figures, as merely quanitified guesses — with an extremely wide margin of error. Perhaps we should all give our answers to three places of decimals, in a desperate attempt to be sarcastic about the whole meaningless business.

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