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Relative Verbal Intelligence and Happiness

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  • Nikolaev, Boris
  • McGee, Jennifer

Abstract

Even though higher intelligence (IQ) is often associated with many positive outcomes in life, it has become a stylized fact in the happiness literature that smarter people are not happier than their less intelligent counterparts. In this paper, we examine how relative verbal intelligence correlates with happiness and present two main findings. First, our estimations from the General Social Survey for a large representative sample of Americans suggest a small, but positive and significant correlation between verbal intelligence and happiness. Second, we find that verbal intelligence has a strong positional effect on happiness, i.e., people who have greater verbal proficiency relative to their peers in their reference group are more likely to report higher levels of happiness. The positional effect of happiness holds even when we control for a large set of socio-economic characteristics as well as relative income.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikolaev, Boris & McGee, Jennifer, 2016. "Relative Verbal Intelligence and Happiness," MPRA Paper 78564, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:78564
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/78564/1/rel_iq.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian & Che Razak, Razli & Rosli, Muhamad Ridhwan & Selamat, Muhamad Rosli, 2017. "The Bell Curve of Intelligence, Economic Growth and Technological Achievement: How Robust is the Cross-Country Evidence?," MPRA Paper 77469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. repec:eee:soceco:v:76:y:2018:i:c:p:55-67 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Verbal Intelligence; Social Comparison; Happiness;

    JEL classification:

    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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