Cross-national differences in happiness: Cultural measurement bias or effect of culture?

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Ruut Veenhoven


The number of cross-national research studies on happiness is soaring, but doubts about the comparability of happiness between countries remain. One source of doubt is the possibility of cultural measurement bias. Another source of doubt is in the theory that happiness is culturally relative. These qualms were checked using the available data on differences in average happiness across nations. It appears that happiness can be compared across nations and used as an indicator of how well people thrive in a society.

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Author Biography

Ruut Veenhoven, Erasmus University, Netherlands & North-West University, South Africa

emeritus professor of social conditions for human happiness