We Happy Danes

31 December 2006 at 8:09 am 2 comments

| Nicolai Foss |

As indicated by the World Map of Happiness Denmark is #1 in the World in terms of happiness — and appears to have held that position for about three decades. Here is a great tongue-in-cheek paper that explains this fact in terms of such factors as hair color and prowess in sport. The paper concludes:

Our analysis points to two explanatory factors. The Danish football triumph of 1992 has had a lasting impact. This victory arguably provided the biggest boost to the Danish psyche since the protracted history of Danish setbacks began with defeat in England in 1066, followed by the loss of Sweden, Norway, Northern Germany, the Danish West Indies, and Iceland. The satisfaction of the Danes, however, began well before 1992, albeit at a more moderate level. The key factor that explains this and that differentiates Danes from Swedes and Finns seems to be that Danes have consistently low (and indubitably realistic) expectations for the year to come. Year after year they are pleasantly surprised to find that not everything is getting more rotten in the state of Denmark.

Entry filed under: - Foss -, Ephemera. Tags: .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Abi  |  31 December 2006 at 11:31 am

    The Danes had rejected the Maastricht treaty sometime in 1992 (I think), and just a few months later came the 1992 European Cup triumph. A popular joke doing the rounds at that time was about how the Danes believed in the saying “If you can’t join them, beat ‘em!”

  • 2. Bo  |  8 January 2007 at 1:16 pm

    I think we Danes are happy ignorant people, who have managed to outsource just about everything – most of it to the State (public sector) unfortunately (could be argued to be insourcing..) – so that we can now live happily ever after in the somewhat reasonable faith that “nothing much will change in the state of Denmark in 2007″. I forget where I read this, but Denmark is also number one (must be in Europe) on the list in terms of relative percentage of public employees in the economy – however, somehow we also manage to be close to number one currently in terms of economic growth and stability in the Western hemisphere..

    I believe the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” may be appropriate in describing the Danish philosophy over the past 10+ years – and there is nothing wrong with this.

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Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
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