Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness… Or Does It? A Reconsideration Based on the Combined Effects of Wealth, Income and Consumption
The accepted view among psychologists and economists alike is that economic well-being has a statistically significant but only weak effect on happiness/subjective well-being (SWB). This view is based almost entirely on weak relationships with household income. The paper uses household economic panel data from five countries – Australia, Britain, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands – to provide a reconsideration of the impact of economic wellbeing on happiness. The main conclusion is that happiness is considerably more affected by economic circumstances than previously believed. In all five countries wealth affects life satisfaction more than income. In the countries for which consumption data are available (Britain and Hungary), non-durable consumption expenditures also prove at least as important to happiness as income. Further, results from panel regression fixed effects models indicate that changes in wealth, income and consumption all produce significant, though not large, changes in satisfaction levels.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in: Social Indicators Research, 2008, 87(1), 65-82|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hollander, Heinz, 2001. "On the validity of utility statements: standard theory versus Duesenberry's," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 227-249, July.
- Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
- van Praag, Bernard M S & Hagenaars, Aldi J M & van Weeren, Hans, 1982. "Poverty in Europe," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 28(3), pages 345-59, September.
- Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Guglielmo Weber, 2002.
"Asking Consumption Questions in General Purpose Surveys,"
Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers
77, McMaster University.
- Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Guglielmo Weber, 2003. "Asking consumption questions in general purpose surveys," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(491), pages F540-F567, November.
- Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Gugliemo Weber, 2002. "Asking Consumption Questions in General Purpose Surveys," CAM Working Papers 2002-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
- Kapteyn, A.J. & Kooreman, P. & Willemse, R., 1987.
"Some methodological issues in the implementation of subjective poverty definitions,"
FEW 245, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- Arie Kapteyn & Peter Kooreman & Rob Willemse, 1988. "Some Methodological Issues in the Implementation of Subjective Poverty Definitions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(2), pages 222-242.
- Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
- F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith & Frank Stafford, 2004.
"The Measurement and Structure of Household Wealth,"
Labor and Demography
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, .
"What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?,"
IEW - Working Papers
080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
- Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
- Van Praag, B.M.S., 1989. "The Relativity of the Welfare Concept," Research Paper 69, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
- Oswald, A.J., 1997.
"Happiness and Economic Performance,"
18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
- Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Barrett, Garry F & Crossley, Thomas F & Worswick, Christopher, 2000.
"Consumption and Income Inequality in Australia,"
The Economic Record,
The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 76(233), pages 116-38, June.
- Daniel T. Slesnick, 1998. "Empirical Approaches to the Measurement of Welfare," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 2108-2165, December.
- Boozer, Michael A., 1997. "Econometric Analysis of Panel Data Badi H. Baltagi Wiley, 1995," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 747-754, October.
- Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Equivalence Scale Relativities and the Extent of Inequality and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1067-82, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1218. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.