Does money buy happiness? Economists empasize correlations between higher incomes and greater self-reported well-being, while psychologists argue that happiness shows little correlation with absolute material goods and is instead dictated largely by an individual's so-called set-point. Other research invokes a hedonic treadmill, whereby income matters until subsistence requirements are met, at which point comparisons with one's neighbors are what influence one's sense of life satisfaction. Oswald and Wu
now establish that the subjective responses from 1 million adults (to questions like "Taking all things together, how happy are you?"), collected within health surveys conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, do indeed correlate with objective measures of quality of life.
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