More Money Makes You Happier Than You Think

Some of you may read that headline and say “Well, duh!” but recent research by economists Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson has shown a much stronger positive correlation between income and happiness than was previously thought. Before this study the conventional wisdom in academia for decades was that once someone had enough resources to meet their basic needs their overall happiness did not increase significantly with more income. This was supported by data that showed that some developing countries had much higher levels of national happiness compared to wealthier countries like United States and most of the European Union.

That data still holds true when comparing countries with each other on a national level. However, Wolfers and Stevenson looked at reported happiness compared to income within each country and found a remarkably consistent result. Even within poorer countries the rich are much happier than the poor even though their country as a whole may be happier than a richer country. The conclusion from this new research is simple. No matter how much money you earn, you’ll always be happier when you get a raise.

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