Economics Journal > Strategy > Working Papers

Happiness Economics
Goss National Happiness & Wellness  Index

GNW / GNH Index

Happiness Economics
Gross National Happiness Index - GNH Index
Gross National Well-being Index - GNW Index
A New Economic Development Metric
Working Paper - January  4, 2005

GNH Introduction

In 1972, Bhutan's King Jigme Wangchuck coined the term Gross National Happiness (GNH) to emphasize the holistic values of his government policies. While there has been no independent study to validate the success of Bhutan s national policies, Wangchuck asserts that economic growth does not necessarily lead to contentment.

Regardless of the King s future success in formulating and executing his national policies, the concept remains a new and innovative way to look at modern socioeconomic development.

The policy remained difficult to implement due to the subjective nature of happiness, the lack of a qualitative and quantitative measurement framework, and the lack of a practical model to measure the impact of economic policies on the subjective well-being of the citizens.

There is a need for a new integrated qualitative and quantitative approach, as opposed to current isolated subjective or economic measures, to assist in the creation of a new socioeconomic development metric to measure and monitor the development of the nation's most important asset - its people.

GNW Index / GNH Index

A second generation GNH concept, treating happiness as a socioeconomic development metric, is proposed by International Institute of Management. The purpose of the new generation is to implement a practical and more comprehensive framework is to bridge the development gap between (1) the objective western, yet incomplete socioeconomic policy framework and (2) holistic yet subjective eastern philosophy

The Institute proposes to call it Gross National Well-being (GNW) Index or  Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index. The metric measures socioeconomic development by tracking 7 development area including the nation's mental and emotional health. GNH/GNW value is proposed to be an index function of the total average per capita of the following subjective and objective measures:

  1. Mental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey on life satisfaction and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of the number of psychotherapy patients
  2. Physical Wellness: Indicated via statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe and chronic illnesses, disability and obesity.
  3. Workplace Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of labor metrics such as job income purchasing power, jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits
  4. Social Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, and crime rates
  5. Economic Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of economic metrics such as consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution, disposal income available for retirement savings and investments
  6. Environmental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of living environmental metrics such as nature and infrastructure quality including pollution, noise and traffic.
  7. Political Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of government such as local democracy, individual freedom, domestic and foreign conflicts.

The above seven measurements were incorporated into the first Global GNH Index Survey

While the proposed new GNW or GNH metric may not be all-inclusive or provide a perfect measure, the consideration of the above parameters is a good start when creating a new metric for the measurement of socioeconomic development and policy management. The results of such survey help identify scientific relations, correlations and cause-effect dynamics.


About the Author Med Jones is the president of the International Institute of Management, an advanced management research and leadership education Institute.


What are White Papers?
White papers provide businesses and government leaders with a list of questions, terminologies and discussion points that can be used to address emerging challenges and opportunities. Unlike academic research papers, white papers are succinct work documents designed for communication and problem-solving. The structure of the white paper includes three main sections: 1). A statement of the problem or opportunity 2). Analysis of root causes and driving forces 3). Proposed solution and implementation best practices.


Copyright License Royalty-free use license is granted for educational (non-commercial) purposes, provided that the user/publisher includes a clear reference to the author(s) and International Institute of Management   (Please include the active hyperlink for online publishing). Although publishing parts of the article under fair-use is free, the use of GNH framework or GNH Index for consulting or commercial purposes requires a written permission and a licensing fee.

Corrections and Updates:

If we made an error in our papers or missed a reference to a major and direct contribution to the subject matter by earlier authors, please feel free to contact us with correction information and supporting evidence. The updates will be listed in the policy white paper.



Gross National Happiness Survey

Related Training and Development Courses

  • Happiness and Well-being Development Workshop