TED Conversations

Mohammad Mohammadipour

This conversation is closed.

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Maybe more cash does make people happier. Especially salient are analyses done by University of Pennsylvania economists Daniel Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers. In their updated 2010 study, “Subjective Well-Being, Income, Economic Development and Growth,” the three compare subjective well-being survey data from 140 countries with those countries' income and economic growth rates. The researchers find that within individual countries richer people are happier than poorer; people in richer countries are happier than people in poorer countries; and over time increased economic growth leads to increased happiness. “These results together suggest that measured subjective well-being grows hand in hand with material living standards,” they conclude..


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jan 30 2013: Although everyone desires to be happy, the pathways people choose are varied (and not always successful). People frequently believe that making more money will increase their happiness. However, although the North America economy has grown steadily since the 1950's, happiness levels of North American's have not increased (Diener & Seligman, 2004). Also, after a person's basic needs have been met (food, shelter, etc.), the relationship between income and happiness is quite small (Howell & Howell, 2008). This leads to a simple, yet important question: if materialistic pursuits, those that are embodied by the Canadian or USA Dream, are not making people happier, then are the hours we spend pursuing better careers, nicer homes, and faster cars, in vain? The problem is that people are simply spending their money on the wrong things (literally). People can spend their money in ways which will make them, and others around them, happier—by focusing their expenditures on activities that satisfy their basic psychological needs. I think we as individual's give our own meaning to the word happiness.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.