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July 28, 2007

Something of a Blow to Happiness Research

As we all know, this happiness research stuff is based on the idea that more money doesn't, past a certain point, make you any happier.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of respondents rated their life satisfaction at seven or more on a scale of one to 10. An average grade of 7.6 was given by respondents from the social grades A and B. These include professionals such as doctors, solicitors, teachers, nurses and police officers.

Satisfaction rates fell to an average of 6.7 for social group E, which includes casual labourers, state pensioners and unemployed people.

When those who have more money report greater happiness than those who don't, bit of a blow to the theory, isn't it?

July 28, 2007 in Economics | Permalink


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Tim, Have you seen / given a plug to the latest publication from the IEA, which is on this subject: Happiness, Economics and Public Policy, by Helen Johns and Paul Ormerod. It tackles this point, and several other fallacies of the Happiness-research crowd. Should be right up your street.

My favourite statistic from that publication is that, although there is little correlation in time-series data between happiness and most of the factors that happiness theorists like to assume are significant, there is a mild but statistically-significant correlation between happiness and crime rates - a positive correlation (in other words, more crime, more happiness). A nice illustration of the difference between correlation and causation, don't you think? Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Layard.

Tim addsw: Yes, I've seen it and made reference to it.

Posted by: bgp | Jul 28, 2007 12:45:54 PM

If you think money can't buy you happiness you are shopping at the wrong shop.

Posted by: john cramer | Jul 29, 2007 1:52:31 AM