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SIGNS OF THE TIMES

smileyNew Yorkers are unhappy, it seems. In an article from today’s New York Times entitled “New York Ranks Last in Happiness Rating,” Clyde Haberman reports on an article published last week Science magazine by two economists, Andrew J. Oswald (University of Warwick, UK) and Stephen Wu (Hamilton College). Why are economists publishing in Science? Accoding to the article’s abstract, Oswald and Wu’s study “has some potential to help to unify disciplines” because it brings together subjective and “nonsubjective” data.

Oswald and Wu’s article is called “Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-Being: Evidence from the U.S.A.,” and it brings together data collected in two separate studies. One was Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2005-2008 in which a random sample of 1.3 million United States citizens in which life-satisfaction in each U.S. state was measured. This data was merged with data published in 2003 by UCLA researcher Stuart Gabriel that considered various indicators from for each state, such as precipitation; temperature; wind speed; sunshine; coastal land; inland water; public land; National Parks; hazardous waste sites; environmental