Does Wealth Correlate with Levels of Happiness?

Group Members: Malak Al-Ali, Prabhjot Grewal, Serena Shukla, Angela Hua

Defining Happiness

“According to an ancient and still popular view—sometimes known as 'eudaimonism' — a person's well-being, or quality of life, is ultimately determined by his or her level of happiness. According to this view, the happier a person is, the better off he or she is” (Feldman, 2010, n.p). Happiness occurs in different forms. Happiness can be described as being in a state of joy, being satisfied with life and being absent of negative emotions such as depression or anxiety. It can also be defined as well-being where it takes into consideration external influences such as money or health. Well-being has been defined as “the evaluation of [one’s own] life in terms of satisfaction and balance between positive and negative effect”. There are seven stated factors that affect individual-level happiness - family relationships, financial situation, work, community, health, personal freedom and personal values.
With that being said, it is also important to point out that happiness is subjective. Everyone is different and everyone receives happiness from different things, experiences and people. People also have different experiences and stories, which plays in the individuality of happiness. Furthermore, biological and social factors can fall into play. For example, the genetic material that determines individual's susceptibility to mental illnesses like depression are not the same for everybody. There are hundreds of different variables to take into consideration, so money alone cannot bring happiness to everyone.
Therefore, the answer of if one variable of life; money can correlate to happiness, is subjective to each person.

Argyle, M. (1987). The psychology of happiness. ProQuest, 5-256, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/617348301?accountid=15182
Feldman, F. (2010). What is the thing called happiness?, [Ebrary Reader Version], Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571178.001.000

Determinants of Happiness

When all of the determinants of happiness are met, it has been shown that the potential for happiness is greater than if they were not met. For example, one determinant is health. If an individual has enough money to sustain good health, their potential for happiness is high. Health and more determinants can be found below.

The determinants of happiness are either examined on a national or individual scale. The determinants that will be examined are as follows:
Employment
Is there a correlation between individual employment/income and their respective happiness level?
Health
Is there a correlation between an individual's health and levels of happiness?
Family
Is there a correlations between family income, family support and levels of happiness in adults and children?
Leisure
Is there a correlation between people who spend money on themselves and levels of happiness?
Charity/Giving
Is there a correlation between spending money on other people and levels of happiness?
GDP & GNP
Is there direct correlation between increased national wealth and increased levels of national and individual happiness?

Determinants of Happiness at the Individual Level

i. Employment

(1) Hierarchical needs, income comparisons, and happiness levels

In recent studies there has been a negative correlation between an individual’s income and his/her happiness levels. The correlation is generally based on the hierarchy of needs which is popularized by Maslow in 1954 (refer to Figure 1.0 for a diagram of the hierarchy of needs). Once an individual accumulates enough wealth to support his/her primary physiological needs and safety he/she will move onto the next level on the hierarchical list. The next step up the hierarchy involves a sense of love and belonging to be fulfilled and this is where the amount of an individual’s income becomes impractical. Personal income is not a sufficient factor to ensure intimacy among family members or friends. Having said this, additional increases in income will not have major effects on happiness levels according to the hierarchy of needs. Instead, an increase in income will only satisfy the basic hierarchical needs of the individual as it cannot replace the intimacy in relationships.

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Figure 1.0

As an individual can buy satisfaction and happiness for him/herself up to a certain point, there is another method of extracting happiness in terms of wealth: to compare his/her own income with his/her peers. According to Drakopoulos, individuals do not receive much satisfaction from their own respective incomes but rather from their incomes in comparison to his/her peers. In reference to the hierarchy of needs, regardless of how much income one produces, money can only please an individual up to a specific level and that specific level can only fulfill basic the individual's basic needs. Due to this, raising everyone’s income does not equate to raising overall happiness.

Furthermore, Drakopoulos discusses the relationship between happiness and income using Easterlin’s paradox where high incomes do correlate with happiness but a further increase in income will not necessarily generate further happiness. More information can be found under Easterlin Paradox heading below.

Drakopoulos, S. A. (2013). Hierarchical needs, income comparisons, and happiness levels. A positive psychology perspective on quality of life. ProQuest, 17-32. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/1315880549?accountid=1518

(2) Don’t worry, be happy? Happiness and reemployment

According to Krause, there is a strong relationship between happiness and productivity as positive influences in a workplace can increase intrinsic motivation. Many psychologists have discovered that positive influences in a workplace lead to greater success for an individual in terms of searching for employment (Krause, 2013, p. 3). A survey was conducted in Germany involving approximately 18,000 people who entered unemployment in June 2007 and May 2008 in Germany. The number of respondents was eventually limited to 2542 due to the exclusion of possible biases the respondents may have had on their overall happiness. The data was collected over a period of time in which the respondents were analyzed in three different waves. The first wave consisted of respondents who recently entered unemployment in the months mentioned above. The second wave consisted of the following year after unemployment entry which is approximately from June 2008 to May 2009. The third wave was the final and consecutive year of the experiment, indicating June 2010 to May 2011. Respondents were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with their life in all three interviews. Measured on a scale of 0 to 10, 10 being extremely satisfied and 0 being extremely dissatisfied, Table 1 exhibits multiple averages of satisfaction levels of 2,542 individuals with the main categories being wave 1 and 2. The main categories are shown in the first three rows, identified as ‘Life Satisfaction (Wave 1),’ ‘Life Satisfaction of the Employed (Wave 2),’ and ‘Satisfaction of the Unemployed (Wave 2).’ The rest of the data shown below the first three rows are further categorizations of characteristics of the respondents such as gender, marital status, etc.

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According to Table 1, the mean happiness rate of the first wave was 6.1443, recognized as somewhat satisfying but not entirely dreadful. In the second wave, the average happiness score for those who were employed was higher than the initial rating, scoring an average of 7.078. In contrast, those who were still unemployed rated their overall happiness rate a 5.486, which is lower than the initial rating. This data proves a positive correlation between happiness and employment, where those who found employment after the first year of unemployment considered themselves to be more satisfied with their life as a whole.

Krause, A. (2013). Don’t worry, be happy? happiness and reemployment. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 96, 1-20. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2013.09.002

(3) Are informal caregivers less happy than noncaregivers? Happiness and the intensity of caregiving in combination with paid and voluntary work.
In the Netherlands, it has been reported that providing free caregiving for prolong hours can deteriorate an individual’s happiness and well-being (van Campen, 2013, p. 44). Although some individuals do find that caregiving is a rewarding activity and it may generate self-satisfaction, a study was conducted to compare the happiness levels of caregivers who perform voluntary work. A study was directed in the Netherlands concerning the happiness levels of those who provide free caregiving compared to those who do not. This study involves 336 informal caregivers and 1765 noncaregivers. Informal caregivers involve persons who provide one or more hours per week of free help for sick or disabled family members, acquaintances or friends and volunteers involve those who perform unpaid work organized by an institution (van Campen, 2013, p. 45). Respondents were asked to reflect and rate their happiness level on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being unhappy to 5 being very happy. The average rating was 3.88. Figure 1 compares the average happiness rates of unpaid and paid work. The first graph depicts the happiness levels of informal caregiving (the thick black line) and the voluntary work (the dotted line), measured in hours per week. The second graph represents the happiness level of paid work and it is calculated in days per week.

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In reference to the first graph, it shows that those who perform informal caregiving for more than approximately 3 hours begin to feel less happy as the happiness level begins to decline after the highest level of happiness peak of 4.0. The happiness rate gradually decreases when the individual perform informal caregiving for more than 3 hours. The lowest reported level of happiness is at approximately 3.45 where the individual works between 21 to 40 hours of unpaid caregiving. In contrast to this, the second graph depicts an upward trend where the more days an individual works, the happier they are. This is positive trend is due to working while accumulating money where the more an individual works, the more money they will make. As for unpaid work, regardless of how much an informal caregiver provides, they will not receive anything. However, as for individuals who choose to volunteer, their happiness levels seem to increase as they are working although they do not receive any pay. This is due to the individuals who find voluntary work (in institutions) to be rewarding to their own happiness. This section of providing free work and giving back is further elaborated under the heading v. Charity/Giving.

van Campen, C., de Boer, A. H., & Iedema, J. (2013). Are informal caregivers less happy than noncaregivers? happiness and the intensity of caregiving in combination with paid and voluntary work. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 27, (1), 44-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2012.00998.x


ii. Health

(PJ)

Stress is a major factor in a person's health and can be caused from many aspects of one's life. One of the major contributors to stress is money. The anxiety and constant thought that comes with money and possible financials problem can cause stress and other mental health problems. Stress can cause depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, migraines and even heart attacks in extreme cases. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in August 2014, found that 72% of Americans felt stress about money during a certain time in a month, and 22% felt extreme stress about money within the month. They also rated their stress on a scale from 1 to 10, and majority of them rated their stress at 8, 9, or 10. Many of the respondents said the money was a very significant source of stress in their lives.

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It has been shown that money can also buy good health. Those who are wealthy statistically live longer, receive better education and are hardly financially unstable. Because of this, their stress levels are generally lower than those who have financial problems and are not wealthy. It has even been shown that people that are not financially stable and are less educated are twice as susceptible to disease and mental illness.

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As the rich are more educated than those who are not, they have a higher "health literacy", which is the ability to understand the importance of their health. They achieve a higher health literacy for three main reasons. Firstly, they are able to maintain a healthy social life and mental status. Secondly, the have the knowledge to understand what is harmful for their body (ex: smoking or excessive drinking). The last being future planning of their life, which means maintaining their body by eating healthy and getting enough exercise.

Davidson, J. (2015, February 4). Americans less stressed-except when it comes to money. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http://time.com/money/3695478/stress-america-study-money/

Seligman, D. (2004, June 7). Why the rich live longer. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved April 10, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2004/0607/113.html


iii. Family

(1) Family support, family income, and happiness: A 10-year perspective

Over the course of this 10-year study, 274 married couples were examined in terms of family life and satisfaction. The two aspects of family life examined were specified as family income and social support and their correlation with levels of happiness. Income, within the context of the study, was described as the accumulation of material goods and its association with status and power. Family social support, within the context of the study, referred to feelings of acceptance, belonging and love. Family support was measured in terms of three aspects:
(1) Cohesion - the degree to which family members are helpful and supportive.
(2) Expressiveness - the degree to which members can openly express feelings.
(3) Conflict - the prevalence of disagreements and arguments.

This study has many implications in society where people are seen to invest their time and energy into one pursuit and lack in the other. The results showed that income had a small, positive influence on happiness but its significance decreased as income increased. Furthermore, social support was found to have a great influence on levels of happiness overall but more so in low-income families than higher-income families. Previous studies, mentioned in this journal, concluded that there was a positive correlation between income and happiness but it decreased at higher income levels. This pattern becomes apparent once the family income exceeds the poverty line and basic needs are met.

North, R. J., Holahan, C. J., Moos, R. H., & Cronkite, R. C. (2008). Family support, family income, and happiness: A 10-year perspective. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(3), 475-483. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.22.3.475

(2) Buying happiness: Family income and adolescent subjective well-being

In this study, the link between family income and the children's happiness was examined. Data was collected by means of a survey and the age group acknowledged in the study are adolescents. Higher family income was found to be highly correlated with a child's happiness. This is because children have greater needs to fulfill (which are determined by society) that require financial resources. The happiness factors of children are as follows:

  • providing love and care to meet a child’s emotional needs
  • having children socially integrated
  • meeting a child’s physical needs (such as food, clothing and shelter)
  • providing support
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Referring to Figure 3.1, it can be seen that there is a gradual increase between an adolescent’s happiness and the total family income. In addition, there is a small noticeable trend where after meeting the median family income, children’s happiness levels decrease despite the increasing income. Figure 3.2 shows that families with an upper median family income (around $86,071) have the greatest percentage of happy children followed by an affluent family income (around $224,970). Figure 3.4 shows the relationship between family income and levels of unhappiness with having adolescents the unhappiest in poor families ($15,314). There is a stronger correlation between low family income and unhappiness than between high family income and happiness. This is due to the children not having their basic needs met with very low income. Once a child's basic needs are met, the increase in levels of happiness are relatively steady.

In conclusion, there has been strong correlation between a child’s happiness and family income (also considering parental education, occupation, race, etc). There are strong associations between social status and well-being in children. It should also be taken into consideration that children in low income families are more susceptible to child abuse, community violence, etc and so can influence levels of happiness. There are two proposed models concluded from this study: the “human-capital investment” model and the “family stress” model. The human-capital investment model states that the strong association between income and happiness in children is because parents are able to purchase things for their children such as high-quality services or school materials but this model does not account for the child’s emotional needs. The family stress model states that the strong correlation between income and happiness is because financial difficulties cause a strain on the parents which affects their mental health and parenting, in turn, affecting the child.

Mclaughlin, C. C. (2008). Buying happiness: Family income and adolescent subjective well-being. ProQuest, 1-177. doi: http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/621747432?accountid=15182


iv. Leisure

(PJ)

Unlike individuals that may not be financially stable or wealthy, individuals who are, are able to outsource tasks they dislike; thus receiving more time for themselves. For example, they are able to pay for a maid to do the cleaning and an investment manager to take care of their money. Because of their availability to free time, they are able to go on vacations and trips with friends and family. There has been numerous studies done by universities like San Francisco State University that has concluded that those who spend money on making memories rather than on material good achieve higher levels of happiness. Furthermore, individuals who spend money on memories rather than material goods are more susceptible to long term happiness and satisfaction. For example, an individual's potential for happiness is greater if they spend money on a trip with their family rather than a new television.

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Buy in small splurges. Spending thousands of dollars of one extravagant purchase doesn't give you a bang for your buck that buying small inexpensive indulgences over a period of time will give you bursts of happiness.

The greatest levels of happiness are achieved when spending time with people we admire. "Use money to buy yourself better time," says Prof. Dunn. of Cornell University. Don't buy a mansion secluded in the country, buy a place near your friends and family. Social activities like hanging with friends and family are the happiest parts of the day. A Harvard University study found that spending money on friends and family, called pro-social spending boosts a person's emotional and physical well-being. Spending $20 on coffee with your friends will achieve you a higher level of happiness than buying a $200,000 super car.

Blackman, A. (2014, November 10). Can money buy you happiness? The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-money-buy-happiness-heres-what-science-has-to-say-1415569538

Laplante, A. (2011, April 1). If money doesn't make you happy, consider time. Graduate School of Stanford Business Retrieved from http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/if-money-doesn’t-make-you-happy-consider-time

C. White, M. (2014, October 29). 5 ways money can buy happiness, backed by science. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http://time.com/3545709/money-can-buy-happiness/


v. Charity/Giving

When we first think about, money would solve all of our problems wouldn't it? It would make us incredibly happy, wouldn't it? Well not exactly. The most important thing to understand about the correlation of money and happiness is the way you use it. When we spend money on ourselves, we feel selfish, it makes us self centered and antisocial. It may give us small bursts of happiness, but in the end we are not satisfied. We dream about making huge quantities of money and spending it on luxurious items. Although when we bring ourselves to buy these items for our self, we are not satisfied, so we want more of these things.

Therefore, why not give money away and spend it on other people? Well, it has been shown numerous times that giving does in fact give us satisfaction. It does not matter how much you spend, but just the act in general has been shown to increases happiness in people. For example, in the Micheal Norton's TED Talk, he compares two instances, one of which is a daughter buying a present for her mother in America, and the other, a stranger giving a passerby money for a sick family member who has malaria in an African country. Norton says that "although the motivations for giving is different, the specific way you spend money on people is not important compared to the fact that you spend money on people" (Norton, 2011). In the same video, Norton shows a world map to the audience showing the correlation between people's happiness and if they have donated money to a charity recently. It shows an extremely strong correlation here showing that those who have recently donated to charity are generally happier.

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Science has shown that this satisfaction and happiness is true. A study that included putting people in an MRI machine and asking them if they wanted to contribute to a charitable cause supported it. The MRI showed that the portion of the brain that is responsible for cravings (like food and sex) were stimulated when people decided to donate money to charity. Although the stimulation was not as strong as it may be during sex or when one is eating delicious food, it shows that there is some biological reasoning behind this "good feeling" after helping someone or giving someone a gift.
Furthermore, in Lara B. Aknin's Journal, "Giving leads to happiness in young children", she writes, "contrary to traditional economic theory that depicts human beings as fundamentally motivated by self-interest, people routinely engage in cooperative acts—from giving blood to donating to charity—that require them to incur personal costs for the benefit of others" (Aknin, 2012, p. 1). People like Freud and other behaviorists believed that humans are only interested in satisfying themselves when it comes to their biological cravings and instincts (hunger, sex, thirst). They believed that once these craving were fulfilled, happiness comes with it. Although, from an evolutionary point of view, people are actually happier and are able to flourish when they cooperate with other people. Jon Haidt mentions this in his article "The Moral Foundations of Politics". He writes on two important moral foundations; the fairness/cheating foundation and the care/harm foundation. the former supports the idea that "human survival and flourishing depended on our species ability to cooperate with each other and help each other when we are in need" (Haidt, 2004, p. 8). Therefore, not only can we scientifically prove that giving and helping others proves happiness, it has been proven through evolutionary research that people flourish when they work together and help people.

Haidt also mentions the care/harm theory. He suggests that people morally care for others and their well-being. When we see someone in pain, our first, natural inclination is to try to help them in some way. So when people are able to help others, they become satisfied and happier. Therefore, money can bring us happiness, although it is how we use it that determines how satisfied and happy we become.

Please refer to this video:

And this video:

Lara B. Aknin. (2012). Giving leads to happiness in young children. ProQuest, 6(7), 1-4. doi: http://search.proquest.com/psycinfo/docview/1325027817/abstract/B4B20E52586640D2PQ/1?accountid=15182

Josephson, B. (2014, November 21). Want to be happier? Give more. Give better. Huffington Post, Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brady-josephson/want-to-be-happier-give-m_b_6175358.html

Haidt, J. (2004). The righteous mind: why good people are divided by politics and religion, Chapter 7, The moral foundations of politics, Pantheon Books.

TED Talk x Cambridge (Conference). (2011). How to buy happiness, Micheal Norton. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_norton_how_to_buy_happiness?language=en


Determinants of Happiness at the National Level

vi. GDP

(1) Wealth and Happiness Revisited - Growing National Income Does Go with Greater Happiness.

The previous study of Richard Easterlin, who introduced the Easterlin Paradox, was recreated in this study using a variety of countries (such as the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, Ireland, Mexico, Spain and so forth) varying from high to low GDPs. Data was collected from 21 countries over a span of 38 years (1958 - 1996) using surveys and material wealth was measured by GDP/person. Countries were grouped as either having a high, medium or low GDP. Figure 1.0 shows the correlation between increased GDP and greater life satisfaction. The dashes in the graph represent the income growth over the span of the study. Countries with a high GDP had significant income increase over the span of 38 years while countries with medium and low GDPs had slower income growth. The dots represent the average national happiness ratings of a certain year in each group. It was concluded that countries with lower GDPs had lower levels of happiness. Generally, countries with high levels of happiness experienced significant income growth over the span of the study. It was found, specifically, that wealth was positively correlated with happiness for 20 out of 21 countries. Only Belgium displayed a negative correlation between GDP increase and happiness.

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Hagerty, M. R., & Veenhoven, R. (2003). Wealth and happiness revisited—growing national income does go with greater happiness. Social Indicators Research, 64(1), 1-27. doi:10.1023/A:1024790530822

The use of GDP as a measure of happiness has been repeatedly criticized. There have been many proposed alternative methods to measure national happiness such as the following:

(2) Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index

Please refer to the following video:


TEDTalk

Nic Marks criticizes the use of GDP as a way of measuring happiness. As Robert Kennedy has said, "GDP measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile". A global survey conducted in 2003 asked people what they want and the most frequent answer given was happiness (Figure 1.0). He created the Happy Planet Index as a measure of progress. The measure of success is determined by the creation of happy and healthy lives in accordance to the use of planet resources. Data from 143 countries was collected to construct Figure 1.1. Figure 1.1 relates the amount of resources used against happiness. The circular yellow dot represents the global average. The countries represented on the top right (ex: the Western world) use extensive resources but have increased levels of happiness and countries on the bottom left have scarce resources (ex: Sub-Saharan Africa) and low levels of happiness. Though it was found that Costa Rica is the happiest place on the planet because there is a focus on boosting well-being as opposed to using GDP as a measure of success. It is interesting to know that Costa Rica uses a quarter of the resources the Western world uses. It can be seen that GDP is not necessarily an accurate way to measure happiness or well-being.

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Figure 1.0

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Figure 1.1

The following article conducted a series of surveys to determine whether GDP allows for a true depiction of a nation's happiness or whether alternatives to GDP outperform.

(3) A "happiness test" for the new measures of national well-being: How much better than GDP are they?

GDP has been a long time indicator of national happiness but some people deem it insufficient for determining people’s quality of life. It has been found, after assessing a variety of alternative indicators, that GDP is relatively accurate in representing a nation’s level of happiness. The believe is that a higher GDP means people are better able to fulfill their needs but GDP has some limits. For example, GDP does not reflect the distribution of income - how is it distributed among citizens nor whether it is used towards improving people’s lives. The alternative measures account for the environmental damage that occurs with increasing income. Other alternative measures use social indicators to assess well-being. The happy planet index (mentioned previously) is an example of an alternative to GDP as a measure of happiness. GDP only considers some of the seven factors that affect individual-level happiness - family relationships, financial situation, work, community, health, personal freedom and personal values. After collecting data from several countries by means of a survey, it was concluded that people enjoy like more in richer countries. There was a very strong correlation between GDP and well-being. GDP was found to be an adequate measure in representing a nation’s happiness. The graph below plots the surveyed countries on a scatterplot which represents the correlation between gross national income and subjective well-being. It can be seen that countries with low economic prosperity have lower scores in subjective well-being (ex: Turkey) and countries with high economic prosperity have higher scores in subjective well-being (ex: Norway).

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Delhey, J., & Kroll, C. (2013). A "happiness test" for the new measures of national well-being: How much better than GDP are they? Human happiness and the pursuit of maximization: Is more always better?. Springer Science + Business Media, 191-210. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6609-9_14


Easterlin Paradox

There have been many studies conducted after the Second World War that inquired about the income and happiness relationship. With many studies being done all over the world (mainly in North America and European counties), the findings were quite subjective and inconsistent. Some reports have stated that the relationship between individual income and happiness was positive where higher income individuals were happier and lower income individuals were less content. On the other hand, some reports have revealed little to no correlation between the two variables, individual income and happiness. A pioneering case to identify the paradox of the two variables was Easterlin’s case where he conducted a study shortly after the Second World War in America. The data that he collected post World War II demonstrated a dramatic rise in income and an insignificant report on the level of happiness of Americans. Similar results were found in countries such as Japan and France. Figure 2.1 depicts the trend in happiness in nine European countries from 1973 to 2010. As the average population of the nine countries grow, the happiness level does not significantly increase but only steadily.

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Easterlin proposed the question, “will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?”. Though most people have assumed the answer is yes, some theorists claim it will not increase the happiness of all because an individual’s income is compared to other people or to previous income. Some believe it will increase happiness because more needs can be fulfilled while others state it will decrease happiness because of increased pollution, stress, etc. Easterlin had collected data across nations and found no correlation between GDP and levels of happiness but was criticized for not being reliable.

However within countries, Easterlin shows that wealthier people are (on average) happier than poorer people although this relationship is not necessarily linear (Graham, 2010, p. 2). Differences in income only account for a slight distinction of happiness levels among individuals where many other factors such as health and personality play a more significant role and on the influence of happiness. For example, an individual with high income may own and value materialistic goods more than another who makes less money. However, the relationship between happiness and income is not entirely clear as Figure 9.1 depicts the happiness per-capita income of various countries in the 1990s (Graham, 2010, p. 4). The relationship between income and happiness is subjective as it consists of many factors such as culture, value and employment. There are some reports that suggest some countries are happier than others but this does not necessarily mean that that country is wealthier than those that are less happy.

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Drakopoulos, S. A. (2013). Hierarchical needs, income comparisons, and happiness levels. A positive psychology perspective on quality of life. ProQuest, 51, 17-32. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/1315880549?accountid=1518

Graham, C., Chattopadhyay, S., & Picon, M. (2010). The easterlin and other paradoxes: Why both sides of the debate may be correct. International differences in well-being. (pp. 247-288) Oxford University Press, New York, NY. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732739.003.0009

Does Wealth Correlate with Levels of Happiness?

We hope that all of this information has helped you with your research on this phenomenon. Although we would love to give you a final answer, there is no clear definite answer. Many factors are involved in determining an individual's level of happiness. There have been hundreds of studies that support both sides of the question, so all we can say is that the correlation between money and happiness is essentially subjective to each people. It is important to take the individual's personal experiences, history, and life to understand whether money could affect their live in a positively, emotional way. We have found a couple of things that we have found through our research that can aid in your decision of whether there is a strong correlation between happiness and money. The general trend from the studies gathered does suggest a positive correlation between money and happiness and this trend can also be seen on a global scale as well. In addition to other factors that may influence an individual's happiness, age was found to be a key in distinguishing who found happiness in money. Children strongly correlate money and happiness because they are able to fulfill basic needs but as an individual becomes older, needs become more complex which cannot solely be fulfilled with money. Furthermore, hundreds of studies have supported the idea that giving and contributing to charitable efforts can contribute to a person's overall happiness. Many people and theories suggest that it is in fact the way people spend their money that dictates whether or not their levels of satisfaction and happiness increase.

Bibliography

Argyle, M. (1987). The psychology of happiness. ProQuest, 5-256, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/617348301?accountid=15182

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