Has modernization gone too far? Happiness and modernity in 141 contemporary nations

R Veenhoven, MC (Maarten) Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

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Abstract

Modern society comes in for a great deal of criticism, such as about increasing individualisation, globalisation and technologisation, which is seen to reduce the quality of life. This claim was investigated in a comparative study of 141 present-day countries. Eight aspects of modernity were considered: industrialisation, size of the service sector, economic freedom, real income per capita, globalisation, level of education, political democracy and urbanisation. Happiness in different countries was measured as the average response to survey questions on life-satisfaction, affect and contentment. Analysis shows that people living in most modern countries are substantially happier than people in the less modern countries are. The patterns are generally linear. In a subset of western nations, greater modernity still goes with greater happiness. Although the advantages of societal modernization may be finite, modernization has not yet undermined human happiness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-195
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Happiness and Development
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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