Measuring happiness | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 3, 2006

Measuring happiness

Posted By on Mon, Jul 3, 2006 at 6:02 AM

Today's offbeat entry from the morning papers:  LA Times reports on economists' search for a happiness index.

If earning more money generally does surprisingly little or even nothing to make societies happier, they wonder, what works better? Good health? Marriage? Sex? By one reckoning, boosting the frequency of sex in a marriage from once a month to once a week brings as much happiness as an extra $50,000 a year.

Happiness economists review thousands of attitude surveys and apply high-level math to calculate the satisfaction connected with activities and demographic traits. It sounds like sociology, but the economists are more apt to focus on money and work.

Consider the sex study. Through surveys and some fancy math, economists essentially created a ladder of happiness and found that the extra sex and the extra $50,000 provided the same boost.

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