90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
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.
Robin and Jeremy

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

November 20 3 Comments

The Man Behind ‘Mockingjay’

Francis Lawrence describes the rewards and challenges of bringing "The Hunger Games" books to the screen.

November 20 Comment

Iraq War Vet Wins National Book Award For Fiction

The judges described the short stories in Phil Klay's collection "Redeployment" as brutal, piercing and sometimes darkly funny.

November 19 10 Comments

New Film Revisits The Jerry Sandusky Sex Abuse Case

The Penn State assistant football coach will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, but that's not the end of the story.

November 19 219 Comments

Without Slavery, Would The U.S. Be The Leading Economic Power?

Edward Baptist argues in his new book that slavery was integral to establishing the America as a world economic power.