Shorts: Press Freedom = Happiness?

Greetings on this (surprisingly) cool summer day! I wanted to mention a recent study that came out detailing the jolly good properties of a country’s free press. Graduate student Edson Tandoc, Jr. of the University of Missouri and his co-author Bruno Takahashi from Michigan State University looked at the 2010 Gallup Poll findings about the happiest countries on earth. They then compared the Gallup data to Freedom House’s press freedom index and found a positive correlation indicating that more press freedom equals more happiness. According to Tandoc, “The road to happiness isn’t direct; it is a complex path or web that includes many different influences and interrelationships. Things like improving the economy alone are insufficient for increasing happiness. Protecting press freedom is also an important component of the happiness web.” They hypothesis that the way this works is such that a functioning press informs and alerts it populace to stories that are crucial to happiness, such as problems of environmental degradation or perhaps social concerns.

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