The World Happiness Report aims to promote sustainable development and world happiness through a new metric system developed by professors Jeffrey Sachs, Richard Layard, and John Helliwell. The co-authors saw a need to shift development indicators away from economic growth and toward measures of happiness and wellbeing. The first World Happiness Report, published in April 2012, fills an international gap in data analysis by providing a complement to existing development indicators.
By looking beyond GDP and economic growth indicators as the sole benchmarks for development, World Happiness Report evaluates what truly makes people happy. Using indicators of happiness encourages improvements in all four pillars of sustainable development (poverty, environment, society, and governance) by balancing the debate between economic growth and environmental sustainability. The debate shift is of growing importance, as economic indicators alone do not provide a comprehensive picture of development success.
The Report has been downloaded 500,000 times, across every continent, sparking interest globally and shifting discussion toward happiness on a global level. Governments such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Oman are looking into using the World Happiness Report’s results to guide government policy. The World Happiness Report will be publishing a second version in September 2013, and will expand its capabilities for advising agencies and countries on data analysis and policy-making.