Is money or sociability more important to happiness?

Using longitudinal data on households living in Germany, we quantify what part of the change in subjective well-being observed over the last two decades is predicted by changes in variables which typically show strong cross-sectional correlation with subjective well-being. We especially focus on absolute income, income comparisons, income adaptation, and sociability, finding that all have some predictive power. The increase in sociability indicators predicts the largest positive change in subjective well-being. Absolute income, income comparisons and income adaptation also predict substantial changes in subjective well-being, if taken separately. However, if considered together their net prediction is quite small: the positive change predicted by income growth is compensated for about three fourths by the joint negative predictions due to income comparison and income adaptation. Finally, we find that aging of the population predicts the largest negative change in subjective well-being. This result appears to hinge on the large loss of satisfaction experienced by individuals in old age.

Source: “Predicting the Trend of Well-Being in Germany: How Much Do Comparisons, Adaptation and Sociability Matter?” from CEPS Working Paper 2010-07

My good friend Adam wrote 10 reflections based on my happiness posts. It’s a heck of a lot more user-friendly than my own digest on happiness and I highly recommend you check it out.

Solid books on happiness are here and here.

Related posts:

Things you didn’t know about happiness

What’s the relationship between money, ambition, and happiness?

When Is Happiness About How Much You Earn?

Is it all relative? How about happiness?

Does marriage really make people happier?

Does the meaning of “happiness” change as we age?

Does how much money your friends and neighbors make reduce your happiness?

How to make yourself happier in just a few seconds

What makes us happiest: work, love or leisure?

Can thinking quickly make you happy?

How does what you have and what you want affect happiness?

Do happy people love their jobs or do good jobs make people happy?

You should follow me on Twitter here. You can also subscribe to the blog’s feed or follow on Facebook. If you want to help support the blog, please do your Amazon shopping via this link. Here are the site’s most popular posts of all time.


Tags:
Posted In:
Post Details