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It’s official: money can buy you happiness

2020-9-6 20:03| 发布者: 悠儿| 查看: 3274| 评论: 0

摘要: Forget what your parents, your self-help guides or your religion may have told you: money can buy you happiness.That, at least, is the conclusion from the number crunchers at the UK’s Office for Nati ...
It’s official: money can buy you happiness
Forget what your parents, your self-help guides or your religion may have told you: money can buy you happiness.

That, at least, is the conclusion from the number crunchers at the UK’s Office for National Statistics, who have combined data from surveys on household wealth and personal wellbeing.

Life satisfaction, sense of worth and happiness are higher, and anxiety less, as the level of household wealth increases,” the ONS said in a paper released on Friday.

Indeed, one very specific type of money has the strongest relationship with wellbeing: net financial wealth, which could be stocks and shares, savings in the banks or money under the mattress.

However, Generation Rent — young people struggling to get on the housing ladder — need not despair entirely. The ONS found that increasing property or personal pension wealth did not result in a measurable increase in wellbeing. Levels of household income — rather than assets already owned — were also far less strongly related.

Surprisingly, although physical assets such as antiques, yachts, swish cars or stamp collections might induce smugness, the ONS found they had no relation to levels of personal wellbeing, which may or may not disprove the theory that it is nicer to cry in a Ferrari than on a park bench.

The ONS asked individuals to rate their own wellbeing on a scale of 0 to 10, on questions such as how satisfied they were with life and were the things they did worthwhile? These responses were then crunched alongside household wealth and income, with the statistical model controlling for variables such as gender or ethnicity, to see what impact wealth or income had on an otherwise alike individual.

The ONS is confident the relationships it describes are statistically significant. For net financial wealth, for example, those in the bottom 20 per cent scored themselves on average 0.4 points lower than those in the middle 20 per cent.

The report is the latest entry into the debate about whether it is absolute or relative income and wealth that matter when it comes to improving wellbeing.

For instance, in influential papers, the economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers tried to find evidence to support the idea that what matters for wellbeing is how you compare with those around you — in other words, keeping up with the Joneses. They failed.

After looking at multiple countries and numerous definitions of wellbeing and basic needs, they concluded: “If there is a satiation point [at which income and wellbeing are no longer related], we are yet to reach it”.

More importantly for policymakers, perhaps, they found that countries that enjoyed faster economic growth, on average also experienced greater growth in wellbeing.

In 2006, David Cameron, then opposition leader, urged statisticians to focus more alternative measures of the national quality of life. “Wellbeing cannot be measured by money or traded in markets,” he said.

Yet the new statistics, which resulted from his policy drive, suggest perhaps you can have a good go.

Diane Coyle, founder of Enlightenment Economics, is one economist who thinks statistics should be focused on more tangible outcomes.

" I don’t think we should be measuring happiness at all. It is not a ‘policy useful’ measure. The government doesn’t have levers that easily affect happiness, and should concentrate on the things that government can do,” she said, pointing to employment or spending on mental health.

In previous work by the ONS, good health, type of employment and personal relationships have proved to have the strongest links to high levels of self-reported wellbeing. At least the first two are something the government can do something about.

And if you don’t believe the ONS, you might agree with Ronald Reagan when he said: “Money can’t buy happiness, but it will certainly get you a better class of memories.”


这至少是英国国家统计局(Office for National Statistics)统计人员得出的结论,他们把有关家庭财富与个人幸福感的调查数据结合起来分析。








例如,经济学家贝齐?史蒂文森(Betsey Stevenson)和贾斯廷?沃尔弗斯(Justin Wolfers)在一些引起重大影响的论文中试图找到证据,支持这种观点:对于幸福感而言,重要的是你如何与周围的人比较,换句话说,跟社会地位相同的人比较。他们失败了。

在对多个国家的情况以及关于幸福感和基本需求的多种定义进行考察后,他们总结称:“如果说存在一个收入和幸福感不再相关的饱和点(satiation point)的话,那么我们现在还没有达到这个点。”money happiness


2006年,时任反对党领袖的戴维?卡梅伦(David Cameron)曾敦促统计学家更多关注其他衡量国民生活质量的指标。他表示:“幸福不能由金钱衡量,也不能在市场交易。”


Enlightenment Economics创始人、经济学家戴安娜?科伊尔(Diane Coyle)认为,统计应着眼于更切实的收入。



如果你不相信英国国家统计局的数据,你或许会同意罗纳德?里根(Ronald Reagan)的话,他说:“金钱买不来幸福,但肯定会提升你的回忆。”






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