HLI was started by members of the effective altruism movement who believe that, when we think about doing as much good as possible, we should measure that good in terms of happiness rather than health, wealth, education or anything else.
There are no organisations within the effective altruism (EA) movement that rely solely, or even primarily, on happiness metrics to determine what does the most good, so we decided to establish something ourselves.
Social scientists have now collected a wealth of data on the causes and correlates on happiness. While there are now growing efforts to determine how best to increase happiness through public policy, no EA organisation has yet attempted to translate this information into recommendations for the most effective ways for private actors to make lives happier. The Happier Lives Institute intends to fill this gap.
In doing this, we hope to complement the rigorous and path-breaking work undertaken by GiveWell and 80,000 Hours and collaborate with them where feasible.
Our ‘happiness lens’ approach differs from these two organisations as follows:
GiveWell does not focus on mental health. HLI aims to investigate more speculative giving opportunities and those outside global health and development.
80,000 Hours primarily focuses on the long-term. HLI intends to provide guidance to those who wish to pursue a career that will increase happiness as effectively as possible in the nearer-term.