Bangladesh, a happier nation than Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden: HAMI

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Published on May 28, 2023
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A renowned economist of Johns Hopkins University of the USA has found out that Bangladesh is a happier country than Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Finland, Bahrain, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.

The professor of applied economics measured the happy or misery state of the 157 countries around the world and came up with the result that Bangladesh is even a happier country than its Asian peers, surpassing Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and even India.

Steve H Hanke worked with the data on the country's year-end unemployment (multiplied by two), inflation, and bank-lending rates, minus the annual percentage change in real gross domestic product per capita and formed the Hanke's Annual Misery Index (HAMI).

Bangladesh ranked 115th in the latest 2022 edition of the index whereas India ranked 103rd, Nepal 63rd, Myanmar 39th, Pakistan 35th and Sri Lanka 11th.

The higher the rank the happier a country is while the lower the rank the miserable it is as per the Hanke's Annual Misery Index (HAMI).

Bangladesh scored 20.107 in the misery index and Hanke marked unemployment as the major contributing factor, which is restricting the country to turn up as the happiest nation in the world.

India's score was 22.58 with the major contributing factor for the country's misery also being unemployment.

Zimbabwe topped the index and became the most miserable country in the world with a score of 414.7 and a triple-digit inflation is hurting the Zimbabwean economy the most, according to the HAMI.

Venezuela, which was once considered as one of the richest countries in the world, is now suffering mostly for hyperinflation and the second most miserable country to live in, according to professor Hanke.

Meanwhile, Vietnam and China, two major global garment industry players, have done way better than Bangladesh.

Vietnam ranked 139th with a score of only 14.839 whereas China scored 13.1 and occupied the 142nd position.

Switzerland has the lowest HAMI score and it is the happiest country in the world.

Hanke said: "One reason for that is the Swiss debt brake. The debt brake has worked like a charm. Unlike most countries, Switzerland's debt-to-GDP ratio has been on a downward trend in the last two decades."

Kuwait, Ireland, Japan and Malaysia topped the list being the second, third, fourth and fifth happiest country in the world.

Hanke said the original misery-index idea was of Arthur Okun, a distinguished economist who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during President Johnson's administration.

Okun developed the original misery index for the United States. Okun's index is equal to the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates.

Okun's index was subsequently modified by Harvard professor Robert Barro, who amended the misery index by also including the 30-year government bond yield and the output gap for real GDP. Barro used his index to measure the change in misery during a president's term.

Hanke further amended Barro's version of the misery index by replacing the output gap with the growth rate of real GDP per capita and replacing the 30-year government bond yield with lending rates.