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Happiness around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires
September 16, 2010
Carol Graham, Brookings Institution and School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
(5:30 p.m. lecture; reception immediately following)**
This lecture reviews the theory and concepts of happiness, explaining how they represent a line of research which is both an attempt to understand the determinants of happiness and a tool for understanding the effects of a host of phenomena on human well being. There is surprising consistency in the determinants of happiness across levels of development in countries around the world, ranging from Peru and Russia to the U.S. and Afghanistan. Yet there is still much debate over the relationship between happiness and income. The author will discuss the effects of many mediating factors in that relationship, ranging from macroeconomic trends and democracy to inequality and crime, and review what we know about happiness and health. She will also discuss the potential-and the potential pitfalls-of using happiness surveys to contribute to better public policy.