The psychology of ‘no:’ Vancouver residents poised to make a decision that will corrode their happiness

National Post

Residents of Metro Vancouver are about to participate en masse in a fascinating behavioral experiment. If you care about happiness in cities, you should  pay attention to the results, because this kind of experiment is being repeated in cities across the continent.

In the 2013 election campaign, B.C. Premier Christie Clark pledged Metro Vancouver would not be taxed in new ways for transportation without getting a chance to vote on it. The region’s mayors were given a few months to whip up a transportation plan and put it to voters. Now it’s decision time. This week, residents will begin voting in a plebiscite on whether to add half a cent to the provincial sales tax to help fund massive transit and road improvements.

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To some, this seems to be great news: citizens asked to participate in a decision that will have a huge effect on their…

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