Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Mar 11th 2010 at 5:23pm UTC

Human Capital, the Creative Class, and the Happiness of Nations


Here’s one hot off the press.

A new paper with Jason Rentfrow and Charlotta Mellander looks at the role of post-industrial structures – that is, the creative class and human capital as well as values toward openness and tolerance – on the happiness of  nations.  Our main hypothesis is that  these structures and values shape happiness in ways that go beyond the previously examined effects of income. Here’s more from the abstract:

Drawing from previous theory and research, we measured post-industrial structures in terms of higher-level education and the share of the workforce engaged in knowledge-based/creative work. Post-industrial values were measured in terms of acceptance of racial and ethnic minorities and of gays and lesbians. Our measure of happiness is derived from a large-scale global survey of life satisfaction conducted by the Gallup Organization. We controlled for income in our analyses and divided our sample into high- and low-income countries to explore whether income has different effects on countries at different stages of economic development.

Our results indicate that post-industrial structures and values have a stronger effect on happiness in higher-income countries where the standard of living has surpassed a certain level. Income, on the other hand, has a stronger impact on happiness in low-income countries. Thus, we propose that when income rises beyond a certain level, a new system of post-industrial values centered on education, creativity, and openness become better predictors of happiness than income.

The full paper is here.

One Response to “Human Capital, the Creative Class, and the Happiness of Nations”

  1. Runescape Says:

    That’s interesting. An average person is happiest until a certain income is reached. Once that person’s income rises even higher, a person surprisingly becomes less happy even though he’s making even more money….