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Are Rich People Happier than Poor People?
New York Times ^ | April 22, 2008 | Justin Wolfers

Posted on 04/22/2008 11:52:57 AM PDT by expat_panama

[snip] It sure seems like the rich are more likely to be “very happy” than the rest of us. Is this a big effect? In 2005, Robert Frank argued:
When we plot average happiness versus income for clusters of people in a given country at a given time, we see that rich people are in fact much happier than poor people.
It’s actually an astonishingly large difference. There’s no one single change you can imagine that would make your life improve on the happiness scale as much as to move from the bottom 5 percent on the income scale to the top 5 percent.
Let’s go ahead and draw the plot that Frank envisions, using all of the data from the 2006 survey:

Here’s the key point:
By comparing rich and poor people, we estimate a happiness-income gradient that has a slope that is similar to what we saw when we compared rich and poor countries.
OK, that’s the United States, what about other countries? We estimated the well-being-income gradient for over 100 countries in the Gallup World Poll. Rather than show you dozens of separate coefficients, we’ll let a picture tell the story (and let me admit, I love this graph).

... [ship] ... it stands directly at odds with a key claim of Easterlin (see p.106 to 107):
… the happiness difference between rich and poor countries that one might expect on the basis of the within-country differences by economic status are not borne out by the international data.
[snip]

(Excerpt) Read more at freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: happiness; money; wealth
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Personally, I'd have thought that the question was like "are men and women different?". Duh. Just the same, there are lots of people who say that money is bad and they don't won't it. Not saying it makes sense, but that this is just how people are...
1 posted on 04/22/2008 11:52:57 AM PDT by expat_panama
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To: expat_panama

yes. and thats not fair, so I will fix it.
sincerely,

B. Obama


2 posted on 04/22/2008 11:56:19 AM PDT by tm61
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To: expat_panama

Money won’t solve all of your problems.

It WILL solve your money problems.


3 posted on 04/22/2008 11:56:31 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (It takes a father to raise a child.)
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To: expat_panama

If I were a rich man ... I’d hire some poor schnook to be depressed for me.


4 posted on 04/22/2008 11:57:02 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: expat_panama

You can’t buy love.

You CAN rent it.


5 posted on 04/22/2008 11:57:11 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (It takes a father to raise a child.)
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To: expat_panama
Mr. Daniel Defoe had this one figured out a long, long time ago.

My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent counsel against what he foresaw was my design. He called me one morning into his chamber, where he was confined by the gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upon this subject. He asked me what reasons, more than a mere wandering inclination, I had for leaving father's house and my native country, where I might be well introduced, and had a prospect of raising my fortune by application and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure. He told me it was men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring, superior fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise by enterprise, and make themselves famous in undertakings of a nature out of the common road; that these things were all either too far above me or too far below me; that mine was the middle state, or what might be called the upper station of low life, which he had found, by long experience, was the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind. He told me I might judge of the happiness of this state by this one thing-viz. that this was the state of life which all other people envied; that kings have frequently lamented the miserable consequence of being born to great things, and wished they had been placed in the middle of the two extremes, between the mean and the great; that the wise man gave his testimony to this, as the standard of felicity, when he prayed to have neither poverty nor riches.

He bade me observe it, and I should always find that the calamities of life were shared among the upper and lower part of mankind, but that the middle station had the fewest disasters, and was not exposed to so many vicissitudes as the higher or lower part of mankind; nay, they were not subjected to so many distempers and uneasinesses, either of body or mind, as those were who, by vicious living, luxury, and extravagances on the one hand, or by hard labour, want of necessaries, and mean or insufficient diet on the other hand, bring distemper upon themselves by the natural consequences of their way of living; that the middle station of life was calculated for all kind of virtue and all kind of enjoyments; that peace and plenty were the handmaids of a middle fortune; that temperance, moderation, quietness, health, society, all agreeable diversions, and all desirable pleasures, were the blessings attending the middle station of life; that this way men went silently and smoothly through the world, and comfortably out of it, not embarrassed with the labours of the hands or of the head, not sold to a life of slavery for daily bread, nor harassed with perplexed circumstances, which rob the soul of peace and the body of rest, nor enraged with the passion of envy, or the secret burning lust of ambition for great things; but, in easy circumstances, sliding gently through the world, and sensibly tasting the sweets of living, without the bitter; feeling that they are happy, and learning by every day's experience to know it more sensibly.

If Robinson Crusoe had listened to his daddy, though, there wouldn't have been much of a book!

6 posted on 04/22/2008 11:57:11 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother ( ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))))
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To: expat_panama

Ask Magic Johnson...


7 posted on 04/22/2008 11:57:31 AM PDT by dr.zaeus
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To: expat_panama

I am not happier. I am bitter. I only cling to my guns and religion. I hope the government can same me soon. all hail Obama! I will be happy soon.


8 posted on 04/22/2008 11:57:51 AM PDT by dubie
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To: expat_panama

SOAK THE RICH!!!


9 posted on 04/22/2008 11:58:30 AM PDT by dubie
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To: expat_panama

I’d just like a chance to prove that being rich does not make you happy.


10 posted on 04/22/2008 11:59:11 AM PDT by the_devils_advocate_666
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To: Jeff Chandler

Another thing that the left doesn’t seem to get is that

income does not equal wealth. It’s not even the same definition.

Wealth is the integration of your positive cashflow. IE, if you spend everything you earn, you have no wealth.


11 posted on 04/22/2008 11:59:24 AM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: expat_panama

My happiness seems to be more tied to how little debt I have, regardless of income level.


12 posted on 04/22/2008 11:59:42 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Play that Funky Music Typical White Boy!)
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To: expat_panama

Money can’t buy happiness ... but it makes a really good down payment


13 posted on 04/22/2008 12:00:19 PM PDT by clamper1797 (It would be insane to vote for Hussein)
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To: clamper1797

And also buys a beautiful Escalade


14 posted on 04/22/2008 12:02:22 PM PDT by geege
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To: expat_panama

There you go, proof that the Democrats want to make people miserable. They will take the money from the rich, but will not make anyone at the bottom of the scale any richer. Thus, the Democrats winning will mean a net decrease in happiness in this country.


15 posted on 04/22/2008 12:02:38 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: Tijeras_Slim

I have had no money, and I have had money. I was happy both times.

In fact, I find that having little money makes life a lot more simple, which is good, becuase I am back to no money.


16 posted on 04/22/2008 12:03:12 PM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: expat_panama
"Are Rich People Happier than Poor People?"

"Who cares!"


17 posted on 04/22/2008 12:03:52 PM PDT by avacado
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To: expat_panama

After growing up in an upper middle class family then for the last 9 years having a family of my own living in a less than 900 square foot home barely making ends meet, I’d say having money would not be too bad. My wife and I agree that if we did have wealth we would not be stupid and buy new cars and have an elaborate house. We would continue driving our used cars and still shop at the discount stores. We would still refrain from having credit cards. . . basically follow the Dave Ramsey method.


18 posted on 04/22/2008 12:03:54 PM PDT by Married with Children
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To: AnAmericanMother

Fascinating quote.

“..where he was confined by gout...”

A disease of excess?


19 posted on 04/22/2008 12:05:12 PM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: Toddsterpatriot; 1rudeboy; Mase; SAJ; remember

happy rich people ping...


20 posted on 04/22/2008 12:05:23 PM PDT by expat_panama
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To: Tijeras_Slim

“My happiness seems to be more tied to how little debt I have, regardless of income level.”

Me too, exactly. No debt=Freedom.


21 posted on 04/22/2008 12:05:40 PM PDT by unkus
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To: expat_panama

After growing up in an upper middle class family then for the last 9 years having a family of my own living in a less than 900 square foot home barely making ends meet, I’d say having money would not be too bad. My wife and I agree that if we did have wealth we would not be stupid and buy new cars and have an elaborate house. We would continue driving our used cars and still shop at the discount stores. We would still refrain from having credit cards. . . basically follow the Dave Ramsey method.


22 posted on 04/22/2008 12:07:08 PM PDT by Married with Children
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To: clamper1797

Eddie Irvine, the notorious Irish Formula One driver (best known for being socked in the mouth by Ayrton Senna whereupon he replied, “Well, THERE’S a few quid coming!”) was constantly surrounded by beautiful women, and he would say to anybody without any arrogance or shame, “If I didn’t have any money, not one of these girls would ...” well you can fill in the rest for yourself.

Among us Cougars it is agreed that the best pickup line in the world is still “I have a Platinum Visa card and a Lamborghini.” Or in my case, a Koenigsegg.

People who say money can’t buy happiness are people who have never had enough money to make the experiment. Of course it can. On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln once observed that a man is usually just as happy as he makes up his mind to be.


23 posted on 04/22/2008 12:07:41 PM PDT by Appleby
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To: expat_panama
In an age of antidepressants, is this question relevant?
24 posted on 04/22/2008 12:08:05 PM PDT by stravinskyrules (Why is it that whenever I hear a piece of music I don't like, it's always by Villa-Lobos?)
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To: unkus

Happy people have everything they want.

The secret is to control your wants.


25 posted on 04/22/2008 12:09:02 PM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: expat_panama
"Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it."

So says this man:


26 posted on 04/22/2008 12:09:23 PM PDT by Toskrin (Bringing you global cooling since 1999)
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To: expat_panama

Gimme a $bajillion.....and I’ll find out for ya.


27 posted on 04/22/2008 12:09:54 PM PDT by ElectricStrawberry (27th Infantry Regiment...cut in half during the Clinton years.)
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To: expat_panama

Absolutely not. The only unhappy poor people I know are ones who cannot pay their bills, but people of limited means are usually happier than rich people. I know people on both extremes of the scale and by far the poorer people are far happier. Rich people tend to pretend all is well but that is because they are snobby and no rich person ever wants to hear of other people’s problems, probably because they don’t want to face the fact that they, too, have problems.


28 posted on 04/22/2008 12:12:20 PM PDT by CodeToad
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To: expat_panama

One problem is “which came first: the happiness or the money?”

If I were an executive, all things being equal, I’d rather promote Happy Hank to management than Miserable Mike.

I heard that lottery winners are often not appreciably happier once the initial euphoria has worn off.


29 posted on 04/22/2008 12:12:29 PM PDT by Our man in washington
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To: expat_panama

I think if you are content and at peace within you can be happy rich or poor.


30 posted on 04/22/2008 12:13:08 PM PDT by cubreporter
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To: expat_panama

Extensive research is required. Please send a large grant and I will be diligent in the comparison of my relatively poor life to the alternative.


31 posted on 04/22/2008 12:13:28 PM PDT by OB1kNOb ("We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election." - Ahmed Yousef, Hamas PM advisor)
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To: Appleby

A king’s what?


32 posted on 04/22/2008 12:14:01 PM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: MrB

And there is a big difference between Needs and Wants. We taught that to our kids early on.


33 posted on 04/22/2008 12:16:34 PM PDT by unkus
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To: expat_panama
I've been both, and hands-down I prefer to be wealthy. It's easier to sleep at night, not worrying about that pesky electric bill.

/johnny

34 posted on 04/22/2008 12:22:57 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Bless us all, each, and every one.)
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To: expat_panama

Are they asking the porn rich?


35 posted on 04/22/2008 12:24:20 PM PDT by donna (The United States Constitution and the Koran are mutually exclusive.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

"Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable."

Clare Boothe Luce

36 posted on 04/22/2008 12:25:51 PM PDT by COBOL2Java ("McCain is a war hero. He's also a useful idiot for the Democrats." - Mark Levin)
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To: Jeff Chandler
Money won’t solve all of your problems.

My old man likes to say that "Money turns problems into expenses."

I never cease to be amazed at how much he's learned since I was 18 or 19 years old.

37 posted on 04/22/2008 12:28:13 PM PDT by wbill
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To: OB1kNOb; All
 "Money does not make you happy. Last year I made $7 million, this year I made $8 million; and I'm just as happy now as I was then."

Arnold Schwartzenegger

38 posted on 04/22/2008 12:28:39 PM PDT by expat_panama
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To: expat_panama
I don't know, but I'd like to find out.

That being said, I'm not rich, but I'm pretty happy. My wants are few, and I am able to satisfy them.

Is Britney happy? I wouldn't think so, and she's rich.

On the other hand, you've got to be able to feed yourself and your family, or happiness will not exist for you.

I'd think that money is neither necessary nor sufficient for happiness, but it can make you comfortable, which will greatly assist in your quest for happiness.

39 posted on 04/22/2008 12:29:45 PM PDT by chesley (Where's the omelet? -- Orwell)
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To: expat_panama

My wife and I were raised in lower to mid class families. When we first started out things were, shall I say testy. We both worked and put each other through college and since we got our kids raised and gone we now have enough money to be rather comfortable and help our kids and grandkids. Although we were happy with next to nothing we are enjoying our new found wealth and freedom. I don’t think I want to go back to being in need.


40 posted on 04/22/2008 12:32:13 PM PDT by ontap (Just another backstabbing conservative)
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To: COBOL2Java
Which would we rather be?

Miserable and rich..OR.. Miserable and poor?

End of discussion..:)

sw

41 posted on 04/22/2008 12:33:21 PM PDT by spectre (Spectre's wife)
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To: patton
A disease of excess?

Absolutely, although there's a strong genetic component.

I see Crusoe's dad as a grumpy old fat guy with his foot on a cushion and the decanter of port close to hand.

42 posted on 04/22/2008 12:34:48 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ( ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))))
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To: Jeff Chandler
It WILL solve your money problems.

Oddly enough, having recently come into a little bit of money, I notice that I worry every bit as much about keeping and growing that money as I did worrying about how bills were going to get paid.

The worse part is that I was confident that the bills would get paid, it was just a matter of how long it would take. I can't be confident that the money WON'T need to be spent, and thus, disappear.

All in all, I'd rather have my troubles. But I really think people just are the way they are. If you're basically a happy person, you'll be happy despite your circumstances. If you're a worrier, you'll be a worrier despite your circumstances.

43 posted on 04/22/2008 12:37:15 PM PDT by Dianna
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To: expat_panama

Of course money can’t make you happy unless you’re a numismatist. But money buys beer. And beer makes you happy.


44 posted on 04/22/2008 12:39:49 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: AnAmericanMother

Ayep, I think you pegged that decription.

Having said that, the passage is correct. Being staid middle class (US definition, not Brit), has many advantages.


45 posted on 04/22/2008 12:44:25 PM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: AnAmericanMother

Great Quote!... thanks for sharing.


46 posted on 04/22/2008 12:45:24 PM PDT by Sleeping Freeper
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To: Tijeras_Slim

I don’t believe money can make someone happy, but it can increase financial security, which usually leads to less stress and an overall sense of wellbeing.

I’ve had times where I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck, and I’ve had times where the living was good. I don’t think you need to wonder which times I prefer!


47 posted on 04/22/2008 12:46:15 PM PDT by HanneyBean
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To: Billthedrill
And beer makes you happy.

God made it thus.

48 posted on 04/22/2008 12:52:39 PM PDT by Prokopton
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To: expat_panama

Ask Amy Winebottom, or Weinstone, or Whineyhoes, whatever her name is. Why do the rich and famous keep killing themselves?


49 posted on 04/22/2008 12:54:34 PM PDT by Soliton (McCain couldn't even win a McCain look-alike contest)
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To: expat_panama

WHat does rich/poor mean?..


50 posted on 04/22/2008 12:55:29 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
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