web analytics

Does money buy happiness after all?

Written By: - Date published: 4:15 pm, April 23rd, 2008 - 29 comments
Categories: articles, economy, International - Tags: , ,

In 1974, economist Richard Easterlin, published a study in which he argued that economic growth didn’t necessarily lead to more satisfaction. In poor countries, gaining the necesseties of life raised happiness but beyond those gains there was no increase. This became known as the Easterlin paradox.

Just last week, two young economists presented what they claim is a refutation of the paradox.

Read the full story in the NY Times.

(The graphic below is from the article, I’ve circled New Zealand in red. Click the image for full size.)

happiness.gif

29 comments on “Does money buy happiness after all? ”

  1. big bruv 1

    Yes yes…stick your head in the sand, the people really ARE happy living in a low wage economy, they are ecstatic about paying the highest interest rates in the western world, they LOVE dear corrupt leader and they have no problem at all that food and oil prices are rising while the minister of finance keeps stealing more money from us than he needs.

    All these things are true, it is only the biased right wing media that stops us hearing this from the people, they are ALL against dear leader and for some strange reason they want to see her lose the election.

  2. Tane 2

    Bruv, the point of the post is that people may be happier with more money. What’s your point again?

  3. Of course money buys happiness. I was walking thru the town center last year, and there was a hippy man, selling soup in the rain, with a “New Zealand Communist Party” banner next to him.

    He didn’t look too happy, the businessman that walked past him, looked real happy as he was telling his mate about the new 50 inch flat screen he bought.

    If you believe in Communism, you end up selling soup in the rain, if you believe in Capitalism you end up going home to your big screen TV.

    I know who’s happier.

    Still those on the left, believe in the Moe theory from the Simpsons.

    “Rich people aren’t happy, from the day they are born, to the day they die, they think they are happy, but they aren’t happy”.

  4. Steve Pierson 4

    The deeper question is whether people the countries in which people on high and low incomes are equally happy are those with better public services, less wealth disparity or what.

    I also wonder if less disparity in happiness correlates with more happiness overall.

    i note the happiest country is Denmark. it’s one of the richest countries but it also has very equal happiness bewtween high and low income.

  5. Bruv will be happy to see that people in socialist scumhole Venezuela are, on average, happier than those who live US – oh that’s gotta hurt!

  6. Susan 6

    Take a look at Venezuela. Bit of a developing anomaly. Poor, but happy.

    Did you catch the pun?

  7. And you really believe people who live in Venezuela are happier than people who live in the USA?

    I’m guessing you haven’t traveled much.

  8. Steve Pierson 8

    Brett. The people of Venezuela reported their happiness and the people of the US reported theirs and Venezuela’s was happier on average. But I guess you know more about those peoples’ happiness than they do.

  9. Brett:

    “Of course money buys happiness.”

    You need to look at the figure closer. In many countries there is no difference in happiness between the wealthy and others – take Denmark for example – the happiest country on earth – a country that people like you call a “socialist suckhole”.

  10. Billy 10

    Money doesn’t buy you happiness. I know lots of unhappy rich people.

    On this evidence, I guess there’s no need for a minimum wage.

  11. Steve Pierson 11

    Billy. No that’s wrong on several grounds.

    a) there is obviously some degree of correlation between money and happiness – which exactly what the report this post is about says. It’s just once you get beyond a certain level of wealth that the relationship breaks down (and that makes sense). At low levels, like the minimum wage level, an increase in income increases happiness.
    b) you need a basic level of income just to sustain your life. You can’t be happy if you’re dead and poverty, such as the lack of a minimum wage would bring, leads to shorter life expectency.
    c) the countries with less wealth disparity also have higher overall happiness. the minimum wage decreases wealth disparity.

  12. Billy 12

    Sorry, Steve. I do not do those little yellow smiley faces. If I did, you would have known I was only joking.

    This will not cause me to change my policy on the smiley faces, however.

  13. big bruv 13

    Roger

    Is that the same socialist suck hole that has education vouchers?

  14. randal 14

    sure money buys happiness especially when you are happy if people are kissing your bum! dont you guys know aaaaaanythiing?

  15. Matthew Pilott 15

    Brett Dale, I walked past a socialist on my way home. He was with friends and having a good time (maybe discussing The Revolution, Motorcycle Diaries, or they’d seen some nice ass, who knows). I also saw a capitalist, drowning a baby seal in oil.

    The capitalist was bloody loving it! I’m not sure what that proves in relation to money and happness, but if proves of course that capitalists are evil bastards. I consider happy but evil people to be sociopaths or psychopaths.

    Any other trashy wee anecdotes you’d like to share with us?

  16. Tane 16

    I also saw a capitalist, drowning a baby seal in oil.

    Was it Murray McCully? I’m sure I saw him doing the same thing last week…

  17. big bruv 17

    See this chaps?

    The Asia Pacific Democratic Union passed the following resolution on Tuesday in Sydney.

    That the Asia Pacific Democrat Union expresses its concern at the anti-democratic impact of the Electoral Finance Act 2007 in New Zealand which severely limits the rights of freedom of speech and expressions of opinion relating to valid political comments in the calendar year of an election.

    That is damning of the government. The APDU is part of the IDUand represents political parties from the following countries;

    Australia, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Fiji, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Republic of China, Russia, Sri Lanka, and the USA.

  18. big bruv 18

    Tane
    Apr 23rd, 2008 at 8:11 pm
    I also saw a capitalist, drowning a baby seal in oil.

    Was it Murray McCully? I’m sure I saw him doing the same thing last week

    Nope, that would have been Helen Clark drowning kittens Tane.

  19. Tane 19

    It’s only funny the first time bruv.

    And the Asia Pacific Democrat Union is an association of right-wing political parties – that has about as much relevance as the Socialist International condemning the Employment Contracts Act.

  20. jon 20

    [lprent: deleted – way too far over the bounds. You have done better previously – just been looking at your comments]

  21. jon 21

    Deleting my comment is a bit rich—- given Big Bruvs comment I was merely demonstrating the association of a drowned kitten, to an wet infant cat and how that may be attractive to some people.
    We just had Simon Nome on kiwi blog telling us that there wasn’t censorship on this site,
    Maybe he was confused?

    [lprent: We don’t censor ideas. We do ban people for behaviour. We kill all spam that arrives here. Thats so there aren’t ads for viagra, porn,etc all over the site. Tell me what category I classed your comment in.]

  22. uroskin 22

    I’m intrigued by the graph indicating Danes are twice as happy as Hong Kong people even though they similar GPD/cap. I certainly know where I would prefer to live.

  23. Bruv:

    The Danish economy is highly unionised; 75% of its labour force are members of a trade union (compare this to 20% in NZ). Unions often have a day-to-day role in managing the workplace, and their representatives sit on most companies’ board of directors.

    Denmark has the world’s highest taxes on the workforce, and only to a minor degree from earmarked contributions (this is weird, if you believe the comments section at kiwiblog you get the impression that all taxes make people miserable). The most infamous tax is the registration tax imposed on private vehicles, approximately tripling the price by first adding 25% VAT to the import price of the vehicles and then 180% registration tax on top.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark

    It’s a true social democracy (as if there was ever any doubt).

  24. Phil 24

    One thing I haven’t seen covered in the analysis is motivation for happiness. Is it possible that some on lower incomes are equally happy to their wealthy compatriots because they get a perverse satisfaction out of seeing the wealthy pay excessive sums in taxation?

    That might go some way to explaining Denmark…

  25. Steve Pierson 25

    Phil. Yeah because all the happy people on minimum wage I know spend hours giggling at what your tax bill looks like.

  26. Phil 26

    It’s a well proven fact that an individuals satisfaction with their income is more correlated with ‘peer-group’ income than the individual level alone.

    As such, it doesn’t takle a great leap of faith to suggest that redistributive systems achieve bottom-end satisfaction not through the benefits directly accrued, but the penalties imposed upon the more successful.

  27. Stephen 27

    But the rich or quite-rich aren’t part of the lower income earners’ peer group..? I don’t know if it’s well proven, but I know the study you’re referring to, and I thought it applied to co-workers and friends, not ‘the other half’.

  28. randal 28

    what a weird little argument…people are happy when they are at one with themselves…not externally referencing themselves against others and the size and quantity of other peoples goods.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government takes step forward on counter terrorism laws
    The Government has introduced the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, designed to boost New Zealand's ability to respond to a wider range of terrorist activities. The Bill strengthens New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm. “This is the Government’s first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Carbon neutral government a step closer
    Coal boiler replacements at a further ten schools, saving an estimated 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Fossil fuel boiler replacements at Southern Institute of Technology and Taranaki DHB, saving nearly 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Projects to achieve a total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Cassie Nicholson as Chief Parliamentary Counsel for a term of five years. The Chief Parliamentary Counsel is the principal advisor and Chief Executive of the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO).  She is responsible for ensuring PCO, which drafts most of New Zealand’s legislation, provides ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Emissions report shows urgent action needed
    Every part of Government will need to take urgent action to bring down emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today in response to the recent rise in New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions. The latest annual inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that both gross and net ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • NZ becomes first in world for climate reporting
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says Aotearoa New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a law that requires the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and explain how they will manage climate-related risks and opportunities. The Financial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Awards celebrate the food and fibre sector employer excellence
    Exceptional employment practices in the primary industries have been celebrated at the Good Employer Awards, held this evening at Parliament. “Tonight’s awards provided the opportunity to celebrate and thank those employers in the food and fibres sector who have gone beyond business-as-usual in creating productive, safe, supportive, and healthy work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Tourism Infrastructure Fund now open
    Applications are now invited from all councils for a slice of government funding aimed at improving tourism infrastructure, especially in areas under pressure given the size of their rating bases. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has already signalled that five South Island regions will be given priority to reflect that jobs ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Construction Skills Action Plan delivering early on targets
    The Construction Skills Action Plan has delivered early on its overall target of supporting an additional 4,000 people into construction-related education and employment, says Minister for Building and Construction Poto Williams. Since the Plan was launched in 2018, more than 9,300 people have taken up education or employment opportunities in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Youth Justice residence offers new pathway
    An innovative new Youth Justice residence designed in partnership with Māori will provide prevention, healing, and rehabilitation services for both young people and their whānau, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.  Whakatakapokai is located in South Auckland and will provide care and support for up to 15 rangatahi remanded or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • The Duke of Edinburgh
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today expressed New Zealand’s sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. “Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen at this profoundly sad time.  On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Five Country Ministerial Communiqué
    We, the Home Affairs, Interior, Security and Immigration Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (the ‘Five Countries’) met via video conference on 7/8 April 2021, just over a year after the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Guided by our shared ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Inspiring creativity through cultural installations and events
    Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni has today announced the opening of the first round of Ngā Puninga Toi ā-Ahurea me ngā Kaupapa Cultural Installations and Events. “Creating jobs and helping the arts sector rebuild and recover continues to be a key part of the Government’s COVID-19 response,” Carmel ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Drug-testing law to be made permanent
    Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. Research by Victoria University, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, shows that the Government’s decision in December to make it legal for drug-checking services to operate at festivals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better rules proposed for freedom camping
    Public consultation launched on ways to improve behaviour and reduce damage Tighter rules proposed for either camping vehicles or camping locations Increased penalties proposed, such as $1,000 fines or vehicle confiscation Rental companies may be required to collect fines from campers who hire vehicles Public feedback is sought on proposals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government backs Air New Zealand as Trans-Tasman bubble opens
    The Government is continuing to support Air New Zealand while aviation markets stabilise and the world moves towards more normal border operations. The Crown loan facility made available to Air New Zealand in March 2020 has been extended to a debt facility of up to $1.5 billion (an additional $600 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Building gifted for new community hub in Richmond red zone
    Christchurch’s Richmond suburb will soon have a new community hub, following the gifting of a red-zoned property by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to the Richmond Community Gardens Trust. The Minister for Land Information, Damien O’Connor said that LINZ, on behalf of the Crown, will gift a Vogel Street house ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pacific languages funding reopens
      Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the reopening of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ (MPP) Languages Funding in 2021 will make sure there is a future for Pacific languages. “Language is the key to the wellbeing for Pacific people. It affirms our identity as Pasifika and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • ERANZ speech April 2021
    It is a pleasure to be here tonight.  Thank you Cameron for the introduction and thank you for ERANZ for also hosting this event. Last week in fact, we had one of the largest gatherings in our sector, Downstream 2021. I have heard from my officials that the discussion on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strengthening Māori knowledge in science and innovation
    Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has today announced the 16 projects that will together get $3.9 million through the 2021 round of Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund, further strengthening the Government’s commitment to Māori knowledge in science and innovation.  “We received 78 proposals - the highest ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers next phase of climate action
    The Government is delivering on a key election commitment to tackle climate change, by banning new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels. This is the first major announcement to follow the release of the Climate Commission’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Continued investment in Central Otago schools supports roll growth
    Six projects, collectively valued at over $70 million are delivering new schools, classrooms and refurbished buildings across Central Otago and are helping to ease the pressure of growing rolls in the area, says Education Minister Chris Hipkins. The National Education Growth Plan is making sure that sufficient capacity in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Two more Christchurch schools complete
    Two more schools are now complete as part of the Christchurch Schools Rebuild Programme, with work about to get under way on another, says Education Minister Chris Hipkins. Te Ara Koropiko – West Spreydon School will welcome students to their new buildings for the start of Term 2. The newly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Independent experts to advise Government on post-vaccination future
    The Government is acting to ensure decisions on responding to the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic are informed by the best available scientific evidence and strategic public health advice. “New Zealand has worked towards an elimination strategy which has been successful in keeping our people safe and our economy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting Māori success with Ngārimu Awards
    Six Māori scholars have been awarded Ngārimu VC and the 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial scholarships for 2021, Associate Education Minister and Ngārimu Board Chair, Kelvin Davis announced today. The prestigious Manakura Award was also presented for the first time since 2018. “These awards are a tribute to the heroes of the 28th ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Global partnerships propel space tech research
    New Zealand’s aerospace industry is getting a boost through the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), to grow the capability of the sector and potentially lead to joint space missions, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has announced. 12 New Zealand organisations have been chosen to work with world-leading experts at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government backs more initiatives to boost food and fibre workforce
    The Government is backing more initiatives to boost New Zealand’s food and fibre sector workforce, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. “The Government and the food and fibres sector have been working hard to fill critical workforce needs.  We've committed to getting 10,000 more Kiwis into the sector over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister welcomes Bill to remove Subsequent Child Policy
    Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the Social Security (Subsequent Child Policy Removal) Amendment Bill in the House this evening. “Tonight’s first reading is another step on the way to removing excessive sanctions and obligations for people receiving a Main Benefit,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mental Health Amendment Bill passes first reading
    The Government has taken a significant step towards delivering on its commitment to improve the legislation around mental health as recommended by He Ara Oranga – the report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Whenua Māori Rating Amendment Bill passes third reading
    Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed the Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill passing its third reading today. “After nearly 100 years of a system that was not fit for Māori and did not reflect the partnership we have come to expect between Māori and the Crown, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Trans-Tasman bubble to start 19 April
    New Zealand’s successful management of COVID means quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on Monday 19 April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the conditions for starting to open up quarantine free travel with Australia have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ngāti Hinerangi Claims Settlement Bill passes Third Reading
    Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little welcomed ngā uri o Ngāti Hinerangi to Parliament today to witness the third reading of their Treaty settlement legislation, the Ngāti Hinerangi Claims Settlement Bill. “I want to acknowledge ngā uri o Ngāti Hinerangi and the Crown negotiations teams for working tirelessly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Independent group announced to advise on firearms matters
    Minister of Police Poto Williams has announced the members of the Ministers Arms Advisory Group, established to ensure balanced advice to Government on firearms that is independent of Police. “The Ministers Arms Advisory Group is an important part of delivering on the Government’s commitment to ensure we maintain the balance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kiri Allan to take leave of absence
    Kiri Allan, Minister of Conservation and Emergency Management will undertake a leave of absence while she undergoes medical treatment for cervical cancer, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “I consider Kiri not just a colleague, but a friend. This news has been devastating. But I also know that Kiri is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Excellent progress at new Waikeria prison build
    Excellent progress has been made at the new prison development at Waikeria, which will boost mental health services and improve rehabilitation opportunities for people in prison, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. Kelvin Davis was onsite at the new build to meet with staff and see the construction first-hand, following a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Expert panel proposes criminal limits for drug driving
    To reduce the trauma of road crashes caused by drug impaired drivers, an Independent Expert Panel on Drug Driving has proposed criminal limits and blood infringement thresholds for 25 impairing drugs, Minister of Police Poto Williams and Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. The Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Covid-19 immigration powers to be extended
    Temporary COVID-19 immigration powers will be extended to May 2023, providing continued flexibility to support migrants, manage the border, and help industries facing labour shortages, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Over the past year, we have had to make rapid decisions to vary visa conditions, extend expiry dates, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Covid-19 imgration powers to be extended
    Temporary COVID-19 immigration powers will be extended to May 2023, providing continued flexibility to support migrants, manage the border, and help industries facing labour shortages, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Over the past year, we have had to make rapid decisions to vary visa conditions, extend expiry dates, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More support for mums and whānau struggling with alcohol and other drugs
    The Government is expanding its Pregnancy and Parenting Programme so more women and whānau can access specialist support to minimise harm from alcohol and other drugs, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “We know these supports help improve wellbeing and have helped to reduce addiction, reduced risk for children, and helped ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition Field Day – Tātaiwhetū Trust at Tauarau Marae, Rūātoki
    *** Please check against delivery *** It’s an honour to be here in Rūātoki today, a rohe with such a proud and dynamic history of resilience, excellence and mana. Tūhoe moumou kai, moumou taonga, moumou tangata ki te pō. The Ahuwhenua Trophy competition is the legacy of a seed planted ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Crown accounts again better than forecast
    The economic recovery from COVID-19 continues to be reflected in the Government’s books, which are again better than expected. The Crown accounts for the eight months to the end of February 2021 showed both OBEGAL and the operating balance remain better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago