Using big data to measure the relationship between happiness and political events and strike actions.
Talita Greyling and Stephanie Rossouw developed a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index using big data. This index enables them to measure the affect happiness of a nation in near real-time. The duo launched this index on 30 April in South Africa ahead of the elections (that took place on 8 May) and followed happiness levels during and after the elections. They found strong correlations between the political event and happiness.
The GNH index was launched in New Zealand and Australia during the week of 13 May. Consequently, the elections in Australia on 18 May allowed them to track happiness levels in the same manner that they did for South Africa. The results obtained, further illustrate the strong effect political events have on affect happiness.
Next up, they will test the GNH index in New Zealand when the country experiences their largest industrial strike action in recorded history on 29 May 2019. This industrial action will include both primary and secondary teachers demonstrating against the government, regarding their wages and working conditions. They are very excited to see how the GNH of New Zealand, will be influenced by this strike. Anecdotally, it is believed that New Zealanders are behind the teachers but what will the data reveal?
The newly constrcuted GNH index has attracted the attention of international media, governments, political parties and financial players, especially in South Africa, though also in New Zealand and Australia. All of this signals the realisation by people that economic, political and social events cannot be interpreted without considering the subjective wellbeing of people.
The researchers are still refining and improving the index and are eager to share their results with all of you in Granada in September.
Talita and Stephanie