Happy and Smart Kids: Three Lessons from the Netherlands  I just read The Happiest Kids in the World: Bringing up Children the Dutch Way by Doing Less by Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison. It turns out that by relaxing more you can raise happy, well-adjusted, bright children. It’s great parenting advice. Dutch children are globally ranked Number 1 in happiness. Also, Dutch teens rank near the top of another global survey in terms of life satisfaction. The Netherlands accomplishes this through great traditions but also good policy. (The Dutch also have a great Christmas tradition, recounted here by David Sedaris, but that’s another story altogether.) Since 1917 the Netherlands has had school choice and today more than 2/3 of all schools are run privately, though all are equally funded by the state. Choice in the Netherlands comes as a surprise to many, including pro-choice advocates in the United States. But it is certainly not ignored for its progress. The Netherlands is consistently ranked high in academic achievement. Since 2003, among countries with continuous participation in PISA, the Netherlands on average ranks in the top 10, in fact, number 8 in the world in mathematics. What lessons can one draw from this experience?…[more]


Be educated, be happy Learning is no entertainment.” Was Bruno Mars, an example of a talented person without formal skills, the one who coined this phrase? Nope. Aristotle did. If you want to be happy, then don’t engage in learning-related activities. This goes against the recent global trend in schooling. Many education systems in a variety of nations are leaving behind the concept of “no pain, no gain.” Many advanced countries now implement the concept of happy schools. In March, the World Bank and Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade ministries conducted a conference on “equitable and excellent basic education systems” in Jakarta…[more]

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Research Digest Spring 2017 Issue now Online | Special Issue on Labor Market Issues

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