Happiness on the Eurobarometer

It's bad news for Dave.

It's bad news for Dave.{C}

David Cameron has pushed for a new measure of well-being as part of his Big Society nonsense, but I have some bad news for him: happiness has been falling fast under the coalition.

How do I know this? The European Union already regularly asks thousands of people in their Eurobarometer surveys how satisfied they are with their lives. Data for 2011 is now in, and the graph below plots the evidence.

There are some striking results. First, happiness was "untrended" with a few random bumps for a quarter of a century until the end of the millennium. Then happiness rose steadily for a decade under the Labour government reaching a year peak in 2010, but it has been collapsing since 2011. Not good news Dave.

So now it's official: the coalition is not good for the nation's well-being.

David Blanchflower is economics editor of the New Statesman and professor of economics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire