Wealth and Happiness

The CLAHRC WM Director has written before about happiness. Not his own mood, but that of people living under different conditions! His previous reading of the literature is that increasing wealth has a rather small effect on happiness, both at the individual and population levels. However, he may have underestimated the hedonic effect of wealth, at least at the national level, according to researchers from the Pew Research Center.[1] It transpires that self-reported well-being in high-income countries is considerably higher than in middle-income countries. This difference is diminishing as their economies converge. Of course there is an obvious assumption here, namely that the wealth is causing the happiness, not the other way around.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Pew Research Center. People in Emerging Markets Catch Up to Advanced Economies in Life Satisfaction. 2014.

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