The UAE has developed the Happiness Policy Manual — the first of its kind in the world.
The manual was designed by the Ministry of Happiness’s National Program for Happiness and Positivity to introduce the “science of happiness” to the policy-making process and evaluate its effect on the happiness and well-being of society.
“The manual balances personal happiness with societal aspects,” said Ohood Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing. “It complements the National Program for Happiness and Positivity’s efforts to empower Government entities by providing practical instruments for them to harmonise their policies and steer them towards achieving nation-wide happiness.”
The manual was first introduced in a workshop for around 100 federal policymakers led by Paul Dolan, professor of Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics (LSE). Prof Dolan presented a number of approaches to centre government policies around happiness, illustrating them with examples of success stories that underline the role of behavioural shifts on public happiness.
The manual provides a systemic and practical explanation of happiness, and details tools to quantify and evaluate it. It seeks to incorporate happiness into all stages of policymaking — formulation, assessment and implementation.
It is also meant to simplify the process of measuring public happiness for policymakers, and fully explains the different aspects of happiness that can be measured and quantified — namely: evaluative happiness, effective happiness, eudaimonic happiness, and happiness related to public policy domains, including economy, education, health, society and culture, government services, and environment and infrastructure.
The assessment tool includes six evaluation criteria: economy, health, education, society and culture, government services and governance, and environment and infrastructure. It evaluates the impact on happiness of policies on each of these domains, to ensure that happiness is viewed holistically. This stage also looks at cost-effectiveness and the cost-to-benefit analysis from a happiness perspective.
The minister urged all Government departments to benefit from the tools and concepts provided in the manual to incorporate happiness into their policies and programmes and evaluate their effect on target segments.