Friday, April 24, 2015

India worse than Pakistan, Bangladesh, China in world happiness index: Columbia Univ-sponsored study

By Our Representative
A new report has said that India has slipped in World Happiness Index (WHI) ranking from 115 in 2005-07 to 117 in 2012-14, and is behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. Called World Happiness Report 2015 and edited, among others, by Jeffrey Sachs, along with John F. Helliwel and Richard Layard, for the Earth Institute of the Columbia University, it has said that, on a scale of 10, India has scored 4.565 in 2012-14, which is 0.587 down compared to the score it achieved in 2005-07.
The Gujarat government under Narendra Modi signed, significantly, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2003 (click HERE to read) with Sachs to "initiate" research for developing a growth model for ujarat's economy and promote foreign direct investment (FDI). The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, was to be part of the research project.
Praising Gujarat under Modi, Sachs, who is known for his free market approach similar to Niti Ayog vice-chairman Arind Panagariya, also from the Columbia University, had said that Gujarat did not face any "intrinsic problem" for development as it has a long coastline and has an urbanised culture.
The report shows that Pakistan ranks No 81, China No 84, Bangladesh No 109, Iran No 110, and Iraq (No 112). Switzerland ranks No 1, followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. United States ranks No 15, United Kingdom No 21, Germany No 26, France No 29, and Saudi Arabia No 35.
Among the key indicators taken into account while calculating WHI are six variables. These include "gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption", the report points out, adding, "Taken together, these six variables explain almost three-quarters of the variation in national annual average ladder scores among countries, using data from the years 2005 to 2014."
The report states, "For a report that strives for objectivity, it is very important that the rankings depend entirely on the basic data collected from population-based samples of individuals, and not at all on what we think might or should influence the quality of their lives." It adds, "Thus the average scores simply reflect what individual respondents report to the Gallup World Poll surveyors."
The report says, "We extend the GDP time series from 2013 to 2014 using country-specific forecasts of real GDP growth from the OECD Economic Outlook (May 2014 release) for OECD countries, and the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects (June 2014 release) for the rest of the world, after adjustment for population growth."
As for social support (or having someone to count on in times of trouble), the report takes as the national average of the binary responses (either 0 or 1) to the Gallup World Poll (GWP) question "If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?”
The time series of healthy life expectancy at birth are constructed based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Development Indicators (WDI). The freedom to make life choices is taken as the national average of binary responses to the GWP question "Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?"
Then, answer was sought to the question, "Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?" And finally perception of corruption was sought in answer to the question, “Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not?” and “Is corruption widespread within businesses or not?” The report adds, "Where data for government corruption are missing, the perception of business corruption is used as the overall corruption-perception measure."

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