Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Money Makes You Happy (shock, horror!)

Though it has become fashionable to lament how miserable economic success has made the Irish (see the latest RTE television contribution to the daily dirge), economists tell us otherwise.

New research by Angus Deaton (the Princeton academic, not the British comedian) has examined the link between affluence (GDP per capita) and happiness (as reported in a global survey by Gallup in 2006). They have measured a strong, positive link between the two factors - one that continues even above quite high standards of living. So money does make you happy after all.

Deaton and his colleagues do find that a high economic growth rate is negatively correlated with happiness, suggesting that the social and cultural turbulence (cf. RTE above) associated with rapid change is unsettling for citizens. But all that suggests that as growth settles down to a more modest rate in Ireland then our currently high level of life satisfaction will be consolidated. But then what will all those newspaper columnists write about ...

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