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Teaching activity

Happiness in the UK - a new version of the Higher or Lower Game

Jonny Clark

3rd February 2016

Anyone who knows me will also know that if a set of ranking stats comes out I love to turn it into the 'beloved' Higher and Lower game. It's a simple idea - in this example, students just have to suggest whether they think the people of one place (e.g. Wolverhampton) are happier than another (e.g. The Orkney Islands).

The stats this time come from the latest ONS survey on happiness in the UK and you can use it as a way of discussing what might make people happy or relatively less happy. Is this survey important to us economists? Of course it is - if GDP growth were the only measure of satisfaction in life then we know that the average suggests that we are all wealthier than we were 10 years ago so we should be happier. However, the efficient distribution of scarce resources is not always about purely creating more - even the A Level Awarding bodies are now asking about what other measures exist to determine whether economic progress actually makes people more satisfied with their lot.

Try this Powerpoint game with your students. You can make it last 2 or 10 minutes depending on how many times you want to play it. Afterwards, ask students about what made them think that one place would be happier than another. Is it just that they are 'wealthier'? Could there be other reasons - environmental or sociological?

Jonny Clark

Jon Clark has been teaching economics and business studies for over 25 years primarily in the Further Education sector. Before joining tutor2u, he was a senior manager at South Cheshire College in Crewe.

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