It isn’t straightforward for an economic research institute to evaluate a study on happiness. But, on the other hand, as you can read in my last post, it is a failure of modern economics to concentrate only on market efficiency and similar measures. Fortunately, there are economists who care about a broader spectrum of themes: for example the DIW (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung). In its new publication it evaluates a German long term study (25 years) on happiness. And they found out for which factors seem to positively affect the way we value our lives.
The key factors from the DIW study are:
- living in a good, healthy partnership,
- social engagement (a reason why religious people are happier),
- and friendships/social contacts.
The results don’t seem revolutionary, but you must bear in mind the fact that modern psychology has tended to connect happiness to genetic preconditions. Meanwhile, the DIW study shows that one can influence his own well-being.
[UPDATE 14/06/24] It is debatable whether happiness and well-being are the same thing (see here).