The economics of happiness

Many many moons ago I was sitting in a lecture theatre. I was clearly deeply engrossed in the content as I have no immediate recollection of the subject nor the rest of the lecture. The only thing that is clear as day was the lecturer telling us that Married Men live longer and Married Women live less long. Why on earth should that be?

It has always been a curiosity that has remained unexplained and with all the recent research into wellbeing around the globe and Happiness as a new factor for determining government policy it rearoused my curiosity.

Looking at the economics of happiness, I think there is more and more dada out there to suggest  that money is not the panacea and merely becomes a hamster wheel after around $75K. It may add to your satisfaction, but it doesn’t make you happier. This is called the Easterlin paradox. If you are short of the mark and you aren’t happy try a series of psychotherapy sessions rather than shooting for the promotion as the sessions are 32 times more cost effective than more money. I presume that is if all your basic needs are being met…

Not surprisingly a vocation is an important element of happiness. Just getting stuff given to you by the state may not make you happier. I guess it is that control element and the little financial pat on the back you get for having done something well.

As a soon to be first time father, I was particularly surprised to hear that children reduce happiness. After all everyone always tells you about how happy their children are and how they are the best and the cleverest and the ….. apparently it is all bollocks. The little ones and teenagers suck the life blood from you and toss you in to a pit of depression. Brooohahah! Naaaa, not really seems the other ages aren’t too bad and they level the ship and by the time we get to kick them out of the house, we really quite like them. Children as source of happiness… bluechip longterm strategy.

Marriage seems to make people happier, but the causality is unclear and it might be just happier people that marry.

Ok, so no answer to my original question. Perhaps men just curb that wild party spirt and stay home more often, drink less and eat better food and that is why we live longer when married…. the poor women have to suffer through seeing us more and they loose the will to live?


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