Better to Be Richer

I just ran across Angus Deaton's latest summary of his happiness findings at the Gallup website:

As the graph indicates, life satisfaction is higher in countries with higher GDP per head. The slope is steepest among the poorest countries, where income gains are associated with the largest increases in life satisfaction, but it remains positive and substantial even among the rich countries; it is not true that there is some critical level of GDP per capita above which income has no further effect on life satisfaction. Instead, each doubling of income adds about the same amount to life satisfaction, across poor and rich countries alike. [bold added]

Please share this fact with friends at your next cocktail party.
Here's the graph:

Deaton conjectures that the consistent relationship between income and life satisfaction has to do with some kind of shared global standard for self-reporting — the Danes know how good they have it relative to the folks in Togo, and the folks in Togo know how bad they have it relative to Danes. I don't know about that.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

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