Ways to Greater Happiness: A Delphi Study

Dan Buettner, Toben Nelson, Ruut Veenhoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In the first round of this Delphi study 14 experts suggested strategies for improving life-satisfaction. In a second round, experts rated these strategies for (a) effectiveness, (b) feasibility and (c) cost-effectiveness. They considered 56 strategies policy makers can use to raise average happiness in a nation and 68 ways in which individuals can raise their own happiness. Experts were informed about the average ratings made by the panel and about the arguments advanced. Then, in a third round, experts made their final judgments. Summed ratings for average effectiveness and feasibility of the strategies ranged between 8.4 and 4.9 on scale 2–10, which means that most of the recommendations were deemed suitable. Agreement was slightly higher on policy strategies than on individual ways to greater happiness. Policy strategies deemed the most effective and feasible are: (1) investing in happiness research, (2) support of vulnerable people and (3) improving the social climate, in particular by promoting voluntary work and supporting non-profits. Individual strategies deemed most effective are: (a) investing in social networks, (b) doing meaningful things and (c) caring for one’s health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2789-2806
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Life-satisfaction
  • Policy advice
  • Research review
  • Utilitarianism


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