logo-rtsNovember 17, 2016 on RTS (Swiss radio). By Estelle Braconnier. Translated from French.

The Happiness Economics Institute opens on Thursday in Paris. Its mission is to spread academic research in Happiness Economics and accompany businesses that are eager to grow in a happy direction. 

To produce more, happiness at work is key! That’s the motto of Mickaël Mangot, Executive Director of this new institute: “Take one person and make her happier at work and she’ll become more productive, exhibit prosocial behaviors in the workplace and probably be more creative as well”, the economist explains. “In the end (…), companies where employees have the highest job satisfaction are the most productive ones and benefit from the highest valuations in the stock market.”

“So happiness can make money”, claims Mickael Mangot. “This concern has recently accelerated under the influence of the Millenials Generation whose members are very focused on their personal development and their well-being. ”

“Initiatives that foster generosity in the workplace are very well perceived by employees”

Which initiatives can be implemented? “They are initiatives that help to provide a meaning to the companies’ activities, trigger the generosity of employees or the company, which is very well perceived by employees” adds the Institute’s Director. Inititatives that build a higher autonomy for employees are another example. “We know that when flexibility is introduced at the request of employees, they enjoy it and it boosts their well-being as well as their productivity.”

“Above a certain threshold, making more money doesn’t change the frequence of positive emotions any more”

After a certain threshold, making more money stops increasing happiness, observes Mickael Mangot: “This threshold holds for the emotional component of happiness, which is the total number of positive emotions per day or – conversely – the total number of negative emotions per day. Beyond the threshold, there is no more significant impact on those two yardsticks.”

Amish in a happiness peak

In the US, sociologists have asked different social groups about their subjective well-being. Conclusion: “the two groups that declared the highest levels of well-being are on one side the very very wealthy – those who are part of the yearly ranking by Forbes – and on the other side the Amish who, oppositely, live a very frugal life. ”

The study of well-being has become a business, he admits, “but it responds to deep requests from the modern society: society is disoriented, it questions a lot the meaning of our lives, more than before when it could follow norms and models. People are made confused, I presume, by societal evolutions. They consequently question meaning and consider happiness to be a proper answer.”

Listen to the program on RTS website (in French)