Bangladesh, a happier nation than Canada, Pakistan, India

  • May 25, 2023

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Source: The Daily Star

A well-known economist from the United States’ Johns Hopkins University has found that Bangladesh is the happiest country in Asia. It is happier than Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, and even India.

The professor of applied economics looked at how happy or unhappy people were in 157 countries around the world. He found that Bangladesh is even better than Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Finland, Bahrain, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden.

Steve H. Hanke used figures on the country’s unemployment rate at the end of the year (multiplied by two), inflation, and bank lending rates, minus the annual percentage change in real gross domestic product per capita, to create the Hanke’s Annual Misery Index (HAMI).

In the most recent report for 2022, Bangladesh was ranked 115th, while India was ranked 103rd, Nepal 63rd, Myanmar 39th, Pakistan 35th, and Sri Lanka 11th.

The Hanke’s Annual Misery Index (HAMI) says that a country is happy the higher it ranks and more miserable the lower it ranks.

Bangladesh got a score of 20.107 on the misery index, and Hanke said that unemployment is the main reason why the country can’t be the best country in the world.

India got a score of 22.58, and unemployment is also a big cause of the country’s problems.

With a score of 414.7, Zimbabwe won the index and became the worst country in the world. The HAMI says that triple-digit inflation is the biggest problem for the Zimbabwean economy.

Professor Hanke says that Venezuela, which was once thought to be one of the richest countries in the world, is now mostly suffering from hyperinflation and is the second worst place to live in the world.

Vietnam and China, two major players in the global clothing business, have done much better than Bangladesh.

Vietnam was ranked 139th with a score of 14.839, while China was 142nd with a score of 13.1.

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

Hanke said, “The Swiss debt brake is one reason for that.” The debt brake has been very effective. Switzerland is not like most countries in that its debt-to-GDP ratio has been going down over the last 20 years.

The second, third, fourth, and fifth happiest countries in the world are Kuwait, Ireland, Japan, and Malaysia, respectively.

Hanke said that Arthur Okun, a well-known economist who was head of the Council of Economic Advisers when President Johnson was in office, came up with the idea for the misery index.

Okun made the first version of the suffering index for the US. Okun’s measure is the same as the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate.

Robert Barro, a professor at Harvard, later changed Okun’s index. He added the 30-year government bond rate and the output gap for real GDP to the misery index. Barro’s index was a way to measure how bad things got during a president’s time in office.

Hanke changed Barro’s version of the misery index even more by changing the output gap with the growth rate of real GDP per capita and the 30-year government bond yield with lending rates.