Friday, January 04, 2008

Wealth is Good

This is from Daniel Kahneman, quoting Gallup World Poll (HT: Marginal Revolution)
In a sample of over 130,000 people from 126 countries, the correlation between the life satisfaction of individuals and the GDP of the country in which they live was over .40 – an exceptionally high value in social science. Humans everywhere, from Norway to Sierra Leone, apparently evaluate their life by a common standard of material prosperity, which changes as GDP increases. The implied conclusion, that citizens of different countries do not adapt to their level of prosperity, flies against everything we thought we knew ten years ago. We have been wrong and now we know it. I suppose this means that there is a science of well-being, even if we are not doing it very well.
Not so good news for GDP-economics-bias haters, I believe.


  1. I think the quote implies more or less that wealth is satisfying, not necessarily good ;)

    What about gross national happiness - as opposed to GDP?

  2. Gross National Happiness? Let me ask you, and the readers, how many of you prefer to live in Bhutan or Cuba than New York City? --or the tranquil Central Java village than the chaotic Jakarta?

  3. Rizal, from the pool of this blog visitors - me is not excluded - I could savely say that the answer might be well for the later instances.

    But, does it tell us anything?

    How bout those whose feet not in our shoes?

  4. Sonny, Bhutan, and to some extent Cuba, are the poster children of Gross National Happiness-over-GDP supporters. If that really so, they should have attracted people to live in.