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Business News/ News / World/  Can money buy happiness? New research finds answer to age-old debate
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Can money buy happiness? New research finds answer to age-old debate

The study has overturned the dominant thinking that people are generally happier as they earn more

Can money buy happiness? New study reveals the answer (REUTERS)Premium
Can money buy happiness? New study reveals the answer (REUTERS)

Since time immemorial, philosophers, economists, and even common men have debated over this topic--Can money buy happiness?

New research has found the answer to this question. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for most people, the answer is seeming, yes, in the US.

Researchers Daniel Kahneman and Matthew Killingsworth have overturned the dominant thinking that people are generally happier as they earn more, with their joy leveling out when their income hits $75,000 ( 61,76,475).

The study conducted an experiment on 33,391 adults aged between 18 and 65 who live in the United States, are employed and report a household income of at least $10,000 a year. The researchers said they lacked substantial data for those earning over $500,000.

During the research, the participants were asked to report their feelings at random intervals in a day via an app developed by Killingsworth called 'Track Your Happiness'.

The researchers asked the participants about their feelings randomly at any time. Specifically, they asked, "How do you feel right now?" on a scale ranging from “very bad" to “very good," he said.

The study came up with two outcomes: First, happiness continues to rise with income even in the high range of income. Precisely, more money can raise our happiness level.

However, the study also found that was an “unhappy minority". About 20% of the participants, "whose unhappiness diminishes with rising income up to a threshold, then shows no further progress".

Such people experience "negative" miseries which cannot e alleviated by money, such as clinical depression, and heartbreak kinds of episodes.

The researchers noted that their suffering may diminish as their income rises to about $10,000 but "very little beyond that".

The study underlined two facts--larger income is associated with happiness for most people. But if you are rich and dealing with a severe emotional crisis then money won't help.

The study acknowledged that happiness and emotional well-being varies every day and that "happy people are not all equally happy" but argues that there are “degrees of happiness".

Moreover, the outcome of happiness is different, depending on income. Low earners, gain greater happiness with an increased in income than happier people do. In other words, the bottom of the happiness distribution rises much faster than the top in that range of income.

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Published: 14 Mar 2023, 09:45 AM IST
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