Monday 17 May 2021

Nanny states are no healthier and no happier

The new Nanny State Index was published last week. Every time we publish it, I get people asking me whether the biggest nanny states are happier, presumably because the famously perky Scandinavian countries are mostly near the top of the index.

We know that Nanny State Index scores don't correlate with life expectancy, but do they correlate with happiness and life satisfaction scores?

Reader, they do not. Here are the NSI scores against life satisfaction scores (from Our World in Data). With an r-squared of exactly zero, there is absolutely no correlation.

Likewise, there is no correlation between Nanny State Index scores and happiness scores (from the World Values Survey - missing data for 5 countries).   

And since, as mentioned, there is no correlation between NSI scores and life expectancy (nor between NSI tobacco control scores and smoking or NSI alcohol scores and alcohol consumption), you have to ask what the point is? As Mark Littlewood says in The Times today, the nanny state simply doesn't work. 


I wrote an article about the Nanny State Index project for CapX last week and also one for New Europe. There's also a quick video below and you can watch the launch event here.


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