Alternative Measure of Wellbeing: Bhutan's Gross National Happiness 2010

There is growing demand for innovative yet rigorous measures of national wellbeing beyond gross domestic product. In 2008, the Centre for Bhutan Studies - Bhutan's main policy research centre - posted data from a preliminary survey of the country's Gross National Happiness (GNH). The Centre for Bhutan Studies involved a number of external groups in developing the survey instrument, including the IDRC-supported Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). The preliminary GNH Index incorporated four pillars, nine dimensions and 72 indicators. The new and expanded 2010 GNH survey, supported by the Royal Government and the United Nations Development Programme Bhutan (UNDP-Bhutan), will provide data that is more representative at the national and district level. Based on this data, Centre for Bhutan Studies will release a quantitative Gross National Happiness Index in 2011. This grant will allow the OPHI to help the Centre for Bhutan Studies consolidate and analyze the 2010 survey results. The idea is to ensure technical validity and international recognition of the GNH measure so that it can inform national policy and serve as a model for other countries. An effort will be made to disaggregate the index according to different population groups (men, women, districts, minority groups, etc.) and to link indicators of wellbeing to allocations of public investment.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

End Date

Monday, December 31, 2012


18 months

IDRC Officer

Rodriguez, Mr. Edgard

Total funding

CA$ 264,400


Bhutan, Central Asia, Far East Asia, South Asia


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Tshering Phuntsho


Centre for Bhutan Studies

Institution Country


Institution Website