Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Can Money Make You Happy?

0206_happynomics-moneyCan money make you happy? If not, maybe you’re doing something wrong? Happynomics is about the economics of happiness.

Here & Now’s Robin Young sat down with three leaders in the field of Happynomics at Boston Museum of Science event, and they explored the topic.

Below are some of their big ideas on the interesection of money and happiness.

What do you think? Let us know in our comments section.

“The idea that money makes you happy, that each dollar buys you a fixed amount of happiness, that everybody gets the same amount from every dollar is obviously wrong. But the idea that money is unrelated to happiness is also ridiculous. And all you have to do is go stand outside with no coat, no shoes, nowhere to go and hungry and in about five minutes you go ‘wow, money would make me happier’ and you’re right. So money is obviously related to happiness, but it’s relationship is intricate and complex.”

“It’s not so much how big your house is that governs how happy you are, it’s what your house is like in some relevant local economy.” And though Americans are spending more than they used to “the United States as a whole has not grown more happy.”

Norton conducted a study that found giving money away made people happier. When he and his colleagues gave subjects money and compelled them to spend it on someone else, that also made them happier.

“It turns out if you think of your everyday life it’s very hard to be nice and helpful to other people because it’s awkward. But if we make you be nice… people instantly forget it was part of an experiment and they really enjoy the experience.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.

Experts share a range of perspectives on how to combat the Islamic State militant group, and the role the U.S. should play.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

November 27 Comment

Books To Give As Gifts This Year

If you're looking to give a book to a friend or family member this holiday, NPR Books editor Petra Mayer shares her picks.

November 26 9 Comments

Arlo Guthrie Celebrates 50 Years Of ‘Alice’s Restaurant’

Listening to the 18-minute musical monologue has been a Thanksgiving tradition among folk music fans for decades.

November 26 Comment

One Refugee’s Story Of Coming To America

Paul Okot vividly remembers landing at JFK airport in New York at 7 years old, after fleeing violence in southern Sudan.

November 25 3 Comments

Rapper Le1f Finds Struggle And Moral Diversity In American Music

We've been asking musicians what they think of when they think "American music." Today we hear from Khalif Diouf, aka Le1f.