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Would You Be Happier If You Were Richer

In: Social Issues

Submitted By orhann53
Words 1062
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my lecture is about to would you be happier if you were richer.
Most people believe that they would be happier if they were richer, but survey evidence on subjective well-being is largely inconsistent with that belief. Subjective well-being is most commonly measured by asking people, All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days? or Taken all together, would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy? An alternative method asks people to report their feelings in real time, which yields a measure of experienced affect or happiness.Increases in income have been found to have mainly a transitory effect on individuals_ reported life satisfaction. Moreover, the correlation between income and subjective wellbeing is weaker when a measure of experienced happiness is used instead of a global measure. More importantly, the focusing illusion may be a source of error in significant decisions that people make. Evidence for the focusing illusion comes from diverse lines of research. For example, Strack and colleagues reported an experiment in which students were asked:How happy are you with your life in general? And How many dates did you have last month? The correlation between the answers to these questions was.When they were asked in the preceding order,but the correlation rose to 0.66(zero point sixty six) when the order was reversed with another sample of students. Similar focusing effects were observed when attention was first called to respondents marriage or health. One conclusion from this research is that people do not know how happy or satisfied they are with their life in the way they know their height or telephone number.the predictions were biased in two respects.First,the prevalence of bad mood was generally overestimated. Second, consistent with the focusing illusion, the predicted prevalence of a bad mood for people with undesirable circumstances was grossly exaggerated. The focusing illusion helps explain why the results of well-being research are often counterintuitive.The false intuitions likely arise from a failure to recognize that people do not continuously think about their circumstances, whether positive or negative. Schkade and Kahneman noted that,’’Nothing in life is quite as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.’’Individuals who have recently experienced a significant life change (e.g., becoming disabled, winning a lottery, or getting married) surely think of their new circumstances many times each day, but the allocation of attention eventually changes, so that they spend most of their time attending to and drawing pleasure or displeasure from experiences such as having breakfast or watching television.The correlation between household income and reported general life satisfaction on a numeric scale. There are reasons to believe that the correlation between income and judgments of life satisfaction overstates the effect of income on subjective well-being. First, increases in income have mostly a transitory effect on individuals_ reported life satisfaction.Second, large increases in income for a given country over time are not associated with increases in average subjective well-being. Third, although average life satisfaction in countries tends to rise with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita at low levels of income, there is little or no further increase in life satisfaction once. Fourth, when subjective well-being is measured from moment to moment either by querying people in real time with the Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) technique.ANKETİ SOYLE! Income is more weakly correlated with experienced feelings such as momentary happiness averaged over the course of the day (henceforth called duration-weighted or experienced happiness) than it is with a global judgment of life satisfaction or overall happiness, or with a global report of yesterdays mood. Why does income have such a weak effect on subjective well-being? There are several explanations, all of which may contribute to varying degrees. First, Duesenberry, Easterlin ,Frank, and others have argued that relative income rather than the level of income affects well-being earning more or less than others looms larger than how much one earns. As society grows richer, average rank does not change, so the relative income hypothesis could explain the stability of average subjective well-being despite national income growth. The relative income hypothesis cannot by itself explain why a permanent increase in an individual_s income has a transitory effect on her well-being, as relative standing would increase. However, the increase in relative standing can be offset by changes in the reference group Second, Easterlin argues that individuals adapt to material goods, and Scitovsky argues that material goods yield little joy for most individuals. Thus, increases in income, which are expected to raise well-being by raising consumption opportunities, may in fact have little lasting effect because of hedonic adaptation or because the consumption of material goods has little effect on well-being above a certain level of consumption Finally, we would propose another explanation: As income rises, people’s time use does not appear to shift toward activities that are associated with improved affect. Subjective well-being is connected to how people spend their time. The activities that higher-income individuals spend relatively more of their time engaged in are associated with no greater happiness, on average, but with slightly higher tension and stress. The latter finding might help explain why income is more highly correlated with general life satisfaction than with experienced happiness, as tension and stress may accompany goal attainment The results also highlight the possible role of the focusing illusion. When someone reflects on how additional income would change subjective well-being, they are probably tempted to think about spending more time in leisurely pursuits such as watching a largescreen plasma TV or playing golf, but in reality they should think of spending a lot more time working and commuting and a lot less time engaged in passive leisure (and perhaps a bit more golf). Despite theweak relation between income and global life satisfaction or experienced happiness, many people are highly motivated to increase their income. An emphasis on the role of attention helps to explain both why many people seek high income because their predictions exaggerate the increase in happiness due to the focusing illusion and why the longterm effect of income gains become relatively small, because attention eventually shifts to less novel aspects of daily life.Thanks for listening.

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