Why Is Denmark So Happy?

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Once again, Denmark has been named the number one country in the world for overall well-being and life satisfaction, according to a new Gallup poll. What's its secret: good welfare? Cloudy weather? Hans Christian Anderson?

Researchers concluded it was a culture of low expectations:

"If you're a big guy, you expect to be on the top all the time and you're disappointed when things don't go well," Christensen said. "But when you're down at the bottom like us, you hang on, you don't expect much, and once in a while you win, and it's that much better."

On surveys, Danes continually report lower expectations for the year to come, compared with most other nations. And "year after year, they are pleasantly surprised to find that not everything is getting more rotten in the state of Denmark," the paper concludes.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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