Wellbeing in Bhutan
Keywords:well-being, wellbeing, happiness, Bhutan, gross national happiness, public policy
Gross National Happiness (GNH) is often recommended as a new approach to assessing economic and social development, and the small nation of Bhutan has become known for advocating this measure of quality of life. Little has been published on actual wellbeing outcomes of GNH policy in Bhutan. The current study uses a demographically representative sample to evaluate a variety of measures of quality of life in Bhutan. We compared 11 nations with Bhutan on 4 domains – Psychological, Social, Environmental, and Income and Material wellbeing. We found mixed results concerning Bhutan’s wellbeing. Results from the study indicated that Bhutan ranks first in terms of Environmental wellbeing and ranks moderately high on Social wellbeing. However, it scores fairly low in terms of overall Psychological wellbeing. Thus, like many societies in the world, Bhutan is succeeding in some areas but remains challenged in other domains. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed.
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