Many countries measure and report these economic metrics regularly. Comparing them, nation by nation, can tell us a lot about where in the world people are sad or happy. Is the United States, for example, more or less miserable than other countries? Hanke’s Annual Misery Index (HAMI) gives us the answers.
The first misery index was constructed by economist Arthur Okun in the 1960s to provide President Lyndon Johnson with an easily digestible snapshot of the economy. That original misery index was a simple sum of a nation’s annual inflation rate and its unemployment rate. The index has been modified several times, first by Robert Barro of Harvard, and then by me.