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Money can buy happiness… especially if you’re happy already

You’ve probably heard the idea that our happiness goes up as our income goes up but only to a certain point.

A 2010 paper by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton shared that “emotional well-being,” which is happiness, increases with income but flattens around $60,000 to $90,000 (more significantly, it stops growing past $75,000). It’s a little more nuanced than that but that conclusion is useful enough.

It turns out there is more to the story… as is often the case.

This 2022 paper by Matthew A. Killingsworth, Daniel Kahneman, and Barbara Mellers discovered (be re-examining the data) that this flattening is restricted to the least 20% of the population.

Income and emotional well-being: A conflict resolved [PNAS] – “A reanalysis of Killingsworth’s experienced sampling data confirmed the flattening pattern only for the least happy people. Happiness increases steadily with log(income) among happier people, and even accelerates in the happiest group. Complementary nonlinearities contribute to the overall linear-log relationship. We then explain why Kahneman and Deaton overstated the flattening pattern and why Killingsworth failed to find it. We suggest that Kahneman and Deaton might have reached the correct conclusion if they had described their results in terms of unhappiness rather than happiness; their measures could not discriminate among degrees of happiness because of a ceiling effect.”

Why some travelers fly across the world without leaving the airport [The Hustle] – ““Mileage runs” allow hardcore travelers to maintain elite status. Are they worth it?” Many years ago, I remember reading about mileage runs and it amazes me that it still happens! Back then, they were considered inefficiencies in the airlines’ systems but I guess they don’t care that much!

Lastly but not leastly, did you know there’s a cafe that sends food through pneumatic tubes?

I’d definitely check it out if I find myself in New Zealand!