According to this lengthy New York Times article, the field of happiness economics—which we’ve followed closely over the last year—is gaining momentum.
Countries ranging from Bhutan (which has declared that its national priority is gross national happiness, not GDP) to Britain (which released a first effort at an "index of well-being" in March) are experimenting with the concept that contentment should be measured as closely as spending. Aside from the Bhutan example, it’s hard to tell how influential these efforts have been at a policy level, but the fact they’re being undertaken is encouraging. (As the article underscores, though, much work still remains to be done to develop reliable and consistent indicators.)
And research continues to point out the discrepancy between subjective and economic well-being, especially as countries become wealthier. On the chart below, the US and Canada aren’t doing too badly on the happiness scale, but neither are countries that have a far smaller GNP per capita.