Improving Well-Being in Bhutan: A Pursuit of Happiness or Poverty Reduction?
Increasing happiness is a key priority for the Bhutanese government. This priority displaces more traditional (economic) objectives such as the pursuit of income growth and the reduction of income poverty. This paper examines the implications of this approach by examining whether there are common correlates of the four following measures of human well-being in Bhutan: income poverty; multidimensional poverty; perceived poverty; and happiness. Our findings suggest that whilst there is a degree of commonality, determinants of the different measures of well-being are distinct. Common factors include having a savings account, levels of literacy and household size. Further we show that higher levels of income poverty, multidimensional poverty and perceived poverty are found to be negatively associated with happiness. Importantly, our findings suggest that a focus on increasing happiness might come at the expense of improving other measures of wellbeing.
KeywordsBhutan Happiness Income poverty Multidimensional poverty Perceived poverty Well-being
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