A Satisfying Chat

My Wryside Economics segment on Life Matters this morning was about the effects of gender and money on happiness, essentially riffing off two important papers that Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers presented at my happiness conference last week (the research is on their websites). The audio from my chat with Richard Aedy will be online here shortly.

1 thought on “A Satisfying Chat”

  1. I found what I heard of your chat this morning very interesting, however I feel that in one important way both your chat and the Stevenson/Wolfers paper were misleading.
    The chat implied that there was a linear relationship between income and happiness; the more income you get, the happier you are (you even commented that the graph “seemed to turn up at the end”, implying a dollar delivers more happiness to the rich than the poor). A (literal) first glance at figures 2 through 5 of the paper also could be taken to imply that. In fact the relationship and the graph is log-linear, implying that an extra $100 buys a lot more happiness for a poor person than a rich person (as discussed on pp 22-25 of the paper). Since the question of whether the relationship is linear or log-linear bears directly on questions of whether redistributive policies can be justified by increase in overall happiness, I think it’s important to make this point clearer.

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