Happiness Will Monteith

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Happiness Will Monteith

  1. 1. HAPPINESS
  2. 2. Job Advertisement: Happiness Director • A new movement will be launched in September in which individuals will commit to work for more happiness in the world and less misery • Wanted: a director to bring happiness to the world. Must have a vision of society in which people are motivated by more than just money. • Salary: circa £80,000 (The Times, 29/03/10) 2
  3. 3. Structure 1. Theoretical Approaches 2. Happiness and Policy 3. Measuring Happiness 4. Happy Newcastle? 5. Ways Forward 3
  4. 4. 1. THEORETICAL APPROACHES • Aristotle: ‘virtuous conduct’ and ‘philosophical reflection’ • Jeremy Bentham: The Greatest Happiness Principle • Kant: Happiness as ‘imagined’ 4
  5. 5. Happiness as a ‘New Science’ • An ‘objective measure’ • Influenced by genes and levels of brain activity • Affected by: 1. Family relationships 2. Financial situation 3. Work 4. Community and friends 5. Health 5
  6. 6. The Economics of Happiness GDP versus life satisfaction in the UK, 1973-2002 (Source: after NEF 2004) 6
  7. 7. Findings of the Sarkozy Commission (2009) Five Problems with GDP as a measure of development: 1. Difficult to measure locally 2. Statistical inaccuracies (e.g. informal economy) 3. Misleading outcomes (includes prison spending) 4. Negates inequality 5. Conceptually inappropriate 7
  8. 8. 2. HAPPINESS AND POLICY “If happiness isn’t a political issue, what’s the point of politics?” Andrew Marr • 81% of the general public agreed with the statement that the ultimate aim of government should be for the greatest happiness, rather than the greatest wealth BBC Poll 2006 • However, many Neoliberal commentators argue that ‘Governments cannot make us happy’ Wolf 2007 • The small issue of the Recession 8
  9. 9. “Quality of growth matters; not just quantity.” Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister “Improving our society’s sense of wellbeing is, I believe, the central political challenge of our times.” David Cameron, Prime Minister “Forever buying more and more things does not improve our wellbeing and cannot be sustained with the Earth’s finite resources.” Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP Source: Young Foundation (2010) 9
  10. 10. So… • Can we make happiness the ultimate goal of UK politics? This makes politicians nervous: - Whose happiness? (Working class? Elderly? City dwellers?) - Problems of progressive taxation - Result: the ultimate ‘Nanny State’? • More sensible (and realistic) perhaps to use research on happiness to guide politics. Aim: the happy (‘unselfish’) variety of Capitalism Deutsche Bank 2006, James 2007 10
  11. 11. 3. MEASURING HAPPINESS How do we measure happiness? • Is it possible to just ask? • Happy people or happy places? (Ballas & Dorling 2007) • How are we doing in the North East? 11
  12. 12. 1 Groningen (NL) 26 Strasbourg (FR) 51 Manchester (UK) 2 Kraków (PL) 27 Dortmund (DE) 52 Riga (LV) 3 Leipzig (DE) 28 Helsinki (FI) 53 Liège (BE) 4 Aalborg (DK) 29 Bordeaux (FR) 54 Rotterdam (NL) 5 København (DK) 30 Amsterdam (NL) 55 Torino (IT) 6 Newcastle upon Tyne 31 Lille (FR) 56 Berlin (DE) 7 Cluj-Napoca (RO) 32 Wien (AT) 57 Bruxelles / Brussel (BE) 8 Luxembourg (LU) 33 Ljubljana (SL) 58 Warszawa (PL) EU 9 Gda sk (PL) ń 34 Cardiff (UK) 59 Ankara (TR) Perception 10 Oulu (FI) 35 Dublin (IE) 60 Antalya (TR) Survey 11 Hamburg (DE) 36 Stockholm (SE) 61 Madrid (ES) 12 Piatra Neam (RO) ţ 37 Bologna (IT) 62 Marseille (FR) 13 Málaga (ES) 38 Barcelona (ES) 63 Sofia (BG) 14 Graz (AT) 39 Praha (CZ) 64 Lefkosia (CY) 15 Tallinn (EE) 40 Bia ystok (PL) ł ł ł ł 65 Budapest (HU) 2006 16 Košice (SK) 41 Ostrava (CZ) 66 Valletta (MT) 17 München (DE) 42 Roma (IT) 67 Miskolc (HU) 18 Oviedo (ES) 43 Malmö (SE) 68 Palermo (IT) 19 Rennes (FR) 44 Antwerpen (BE) 69 London (UK) 20 Burgas (BG) 45 Glasgow (UK) 70 Frankfurt an der Oder (DE) 21 Verona (IT) 46 Irakleio (EL) 71 Diyarbak r (TR) ı 22 Braga (PT) 47 Lisboa (PT) 72 Bucure ti (RO) ş 23 Vilnius (LT) 48 Paris (FR) 73 Istanbul (TR) 24 Belfast (UK) 49 Essen (DE) 74 Napoli (IT) 25 Zagreb (HR) 50 Bratislava (SK) 75 Athina (EL) 12
  13. 13. British Household Panel Survey Percentage of individuals (by social class) who answered that they were ‘less happy’ or ‘much less happy’ to the BHPS question: ‘Have you recently been feeling reasonably happy, all things considered?’ Source: after Ballas (2009) 13
  14. 14. 4. HAPPY NEWCASTLE? Residents’ Survey 2009 Q31. All things considered, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your life as a whole nowadays? Very Satisfied Fairly Satisfied Neither Satisfied Fairly dissatisfied Very dissatisfied Don’t know nor dissatisfied • What are the different geographies of happiness within Newcastle? 14
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  20. 20. Implications for the Local Development Framework Currently agreed ‘happiness’ targets: NI 004: % of people who feel they can influence decisions in their locality NI 021: Dealing with local concerns about anti-social behaviour and crime by the local council and police NI 116: Proportion of children in poverty NI 119: Self-reported measure of people's overall health and wellbeing NI 140: Fair treatment by local services NI 155: Number of affordable homes delivered (gross) NI 158: % non-decent council homes 20
  21. 21. Implications for the Local Development Framework Additional ‘happiness’ targets: NI 002: % of people who feel they belong to their neighbourhood NI 017: Perceptions of anti-social behaviour NI 023: Perceptions that people in the area treat one another with respect and dignity NI 050: Emotional health of children NI 110: Young people’s participation in positive activities NI 118: Take up of formal childcare by low-income working families NI 160: Local Authority tenants’ satisfaction with landlord services NI 176: Working age people with access to employment by public 21 transport (and other specified modes)
  22. 22. Implications for the Sustainable Community Strategy • A targeting of ‘unhappier’ wards for policy interventions • A focus on meeting the needs of parents and children • A re-emphasis on efforts to develop the relationship between the council and the residents of Newcastle • An investigation into the quality of housing available to residents • An extension of the concept of ‘wellbeing’ beyond the parameters of ‘health’ and ‘welfare’ 22
  23. 23. How do we measure happiness? • Is it possible to just ask? • Happy people or happy places? (Ballas & Dorling 2007) • Ask friends and family (Layard 2007) • Explore the impact of Major Life Events • Capture it at three scales (Young Foundation 2010) 23
  24. 24. Methodological Implications Q31. All things considered, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your life as a whole nowadays? Very Satisfied Fairly Satisfied Neither Satisfied Fairly dissatisfied Very dissatisfied Don’t know nor dissatisfied • Phrasing of question • Placement of the question within the Residents’ Survey • Addition of ‘Major Life Events’ 24
  25. 25. Alternative Residents’ Survey Q.1 Have you been recently feeling reasonably happy, all things considered? Much more so More so Much the same Less so Much less so Don’t Know Q.2 Over the last year, what single factor has had the biggest influence on your happiness? Health related event(s) Education Employment Leisure Births and Deaths Relationships Finance Other Q.42 If you could improve one aspect of your life, what would it be? Health Education Work fulfilment Leisure time Family Community and friends Financial situation Housing Other 25
  26. 26. 5. WAYS FORWARD (a) Building up the evidence base • Collect more data: -- re-design elements of the Residents’ Survey -- explore the relationship between perception and objective measure -- investigate the geographies of these patterns -- conduct more qualitative work • Use this data through more extensive data analysis • Be more critical of the methods used to collect happiness data 26
  27. 27. (b) Using the evidence • Look to get the methodological balance right before weighing up policy decisions based on happiness research • Investigate the ways in which quality of housing, community safety and trust in the council influence happiness in Ncl • Relate the happiness agenda in Newcastle to a wider set of life circumstances Use this research (when complete) to guide decision making at the Council 27
  28. 28. FURTHER INFORMATION www.slideshare.net/30088 28
  29. 29. QUESTIONS?
  30. 30. The Kingdom of Bhutan • ‘Happiness’ as the national indicator • Total ban on advertising • Shopkeepers forbidden from displaying Coca Cola signs • Plastic bags banned • Voluntarily low GDP/capita (BBC 2006, Bok 2010, Layard 2007) 30
  31. 31. Wellbeing Measures (Defra’s Sustainable Development Agenda) _ Those measures that are numbered are existing sustainable development indicators, along with any related supplementary wellbeing measures: - 39. Fear of crime
 - Perceptions of anti-social behaviour

41. Workless households
43. Childhood poverty
45. Pensioner poverty 
 
47. Education 

50. Healthy life expectancy
 - Self-reported general health - Self-reported long-standing illness 
51. Mortality rates (suicide)
 - Mortality rates for those with severe mental illness

 31
  32. 32. 57. Accessibility 
59. Social justice 
60. Environmental equality
62. Housing conditions
66. Satisfaction with local area
 - Trust in people in neighbourhood
 - Influencing local and national decisions 

68. Wellbeing 
 - Overall life satisfaction
 - Positive and negative feelings
 - Engagement in positive activities - Local environment 
 - Positive and negative feelings 
 - Feelings of safety
 - Health and physical activity - Bullying
 - Green space 
 - Cultural participation 
 - Positive mental health 32
  33. 33. Recommendations of the Young Foundation (2010) 1. School lessons to build up children’s resilience 2. Health provision that gives more weight to patient experience and wellbeing 3. Community projects that encourage neighbour interaction 4. Parenting programmes that support parents’ wellbeing (as well as children’s) 5. Support to isolated older people to maintain social networks 6. Apprenticeships and programmes for teenagers that strengthen psychological fitness 7. Planning, transport and school policies that encourage more exercise 8. Transport and economic policies that encourage lower commuting 33 times
  34. 34. France: Sarkozy’s 10 indicators • Work-life balance • Traffic congestion • Mood • Chores • Recycling • Gratification • Insecurity • Gender Equality • Tax • Relationships 34
  35. 35. Survey Question Topic Cramer's V 1 Place 0.425 2 House 0.325 11 Council 0.311 15 Decisions 0.209 19 Volunteering 0.128 26 Safety 0.291 33 Housing 0.372 37 Fruit 0.065 39 Fitness 0.166 35

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