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Happiness: What’s Your Policy?

What defines happiness and how to measure it have been popular topics of debate in recent years. The Earth Institute at Columbia University recently published a report on world happiness, commissioned for the April United Nations Conference on Happiness. The organization focused on nine interdisciplinary themes, ranging from Climate and Society to Ecosystems Health and Monitoring. They also included external factors that influence happiness such as income, community, and governance, and internal ones like mental health, physical health, and age. Mental health was identified as the single largest factor affecting happiness in any country. The report lent credibility to the idea that it is possible to study happiness scientifically.

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