Happiness as a measurement and goal of peacebuilding

Alpaslan Ozerdem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)


The Global Peace Index (GPI) measures how ‘peaceful’ countries are, while the World Happiness Report (WHR) index measures how ‘happy’ their citizens are. But when compared side by side, the two sets of findings conspicuously do not match – apparently indicating that people who live in peace do not always live in happiness. To grapple with this interesting dissonance, let us assume that happiness is the ultimate goal in life – as proposed by the Benthamite philosophy – and that peace is therefore an instrumental good, much like health, freedom and autonomy. Once this is taken on principle, it follows that peacebuilding’s overall goal should be to make sure conflict-affected communities are happy. This paper investigates what the results of peacebuilding would look like if they were measured using the GPI and WHR at the same time. Using the former Yugoslavia countries as a case study, it asks whether these countries’ post-conflict experiences of peacebuilding can help explain their WHR and GPI results. The intention is to start a meaningful debate on what peacebuilding’s overall objective should be – and to examine whether the measurement of happiness could be a useful starting point.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)303-322
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Change, Peace & Security
Issue number3
Early online date15 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Global Change, Peace & Security on 15/05/2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14781158.2019.1610372

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  • former Yugoslavia
  • happiness
  • measurement
  • Peace
  • peacebuilding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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