Monday, December 14, 2009

Money, That's What I Want

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: People think that money affects happiness more than it really does
The study worked by asking people what their own income and happiness levels were and then asking them to estimate the happiness of people on lower or higher incomes than themselves. The participants' estimates of the happiness of people on high incomes was largely accurate, but they massively underestimated the happiness of people on lower incomes. The picture was the same in a second study that asked people to estimate how happy they'd be if they earned more or less than they really did.
The results of this study strike me as plausible. This has implications for politics on both the left and the right.

Lefties tend to overestimate the immiseration of the proletariat.

And free-market types on the right tend to over-estimate the incentive effect of additional income, especially when traded for free time.

Hat tip: Patrick Appel at the Daily Dish.

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