Today sees the release of a new book from the Institute of Economic Affairs called ...And the Pursuit of Happiness. It was inspired by David Cameron's idea of basing policy on Gross National Well-being rather than Gross National Product. In my view, this is a fatuous distraction from real policy and is likely to be hi-jacked by various special interest groups.
We have a fairly good idea of what makes people happy—a lasting marriage, friends, a good income, community spirit, nice weather, religious belief, children—but the government is unable to provide any of these. There are basic services the state can offer which alleviate misery, but generally the nation's happiness can be best secured by politicians getting out of the way and allowing us to pursue it.
I warmly recommend the IEA's book to you and not just because it contains a chapter written by myself. It's available to buy or as a free download here. There is also an event to mark its release at the IEA next Wednesday—details here.