Relationship Between Wealth And Happiness


Wealth has been associated with happiness in a number of instances. Household wealth has been demonstrated to enhance the well-being of a person by offering a safety protection net against negative income shocks, by permitting expected and current consumption, and by its possible use as collateral. However there is very limited information supports the relation between national wealth and happiness. Nevertheless, aggregate wealth indirectly influences well-being through positive channels that include health improvement and institutional quality, education and life expectancy. Wealth is also associated with negative degradations of environment among other damages (Senik, 2014). This paper reviews a number of recent literatures addressing how wealth influences people’s happiness as individuals or as a group.

Read also Income Inequality, Poverty and Wealth, and Socialism

Guillen-Royo, M., Velazco, J., & Camfield, L. (2013). Basic needs and wealth as independent determinants of happiness: An illustration from Thailand. Social Indicators Research, 110, 517-536.

This paper examines the association between basic needs as described by human needs, happiness and material wealth theory. The researcher particularly intended to establish whether basic needs and wealth indicators are normally interchangeable when evaluating determinants of happiness in low income environment. The paper centers on seven North-east and South Thailand communities with different levels of services and markets access. The research challenges the usual assumption that at low levels of economy, income and wealth matters for happiness of people because they increase basic needs satisfaction. The authors instead argue that wealth may contribute to personal happiness or symbolic reasons that are not associated to the utilization of goods as satisfiers of basic needs.  The researchers used three main variables that included basic needs, material wealth and happiness.

Read also Source of Wealth Disparity and What can be Done to Cover It – Annotated Bibliography

The researcher collected data using qualitative research techniques. The researchers conducted a survey in 1183 households in the selected seven communities where questionnaire was used in collecting data. These questionnaires were set using the respondent local languages to ensure efficiency. The researchers employed regression statistical methods of data analysis where the probability evaluations and correlations were evaluated to enhance the process of making conclusion. The researchers established that wealth and basic needs of North-east and Southern Thailand are weakly related although in a number of communities being wealthier demonstrates a higher degree of satisfying basic needs. Nevertheless, the lower correlation level and the fact that the wealth of the poorest individuals and the INDI are not related demonstrates that utilizing them interchangeably may hide essential disparities that availability of social security, job opportunities and public services to individuals working in the formal sectors. Based on the researchers’ interpretation, the happiness determinants study in Thailand clarifies the association between wealth and satisfaction of basic needs, accounting for pertinent social-demographic variables. Basic needs are essential for happiness, controlling for the levels of wealth and location household.

Borrero, S., Escobar, A. B., Cortes, A. M., & Maya, L. C. (2013). Poor and distressed, but happy: Situational and cultural moderators of the relationship between wealth and happiness. Estudios Gerenciales, 29, 2-11.

This paper argues that wealth is associated with happiness, although not linearly. This implies that increasing wealth is actually associated to increasing happiness perception particularly if one is not very rich. More essentially, it is suggested that poverty and other adverse conditions that include social turmoil or violence contains an undermining impact on happiness. This negative association between happiness and adversity is however weakened by a collectivist orientation that collectivist individuals attain higher degrees of happiness as compared to individualist persons under adverse environmental situations. To evaluate these claims the researchers analyzed variance using culture, wealth and happiness data from 197 nations.

The research was based on three hypothesis drafted by the researchers. To test the hypothesis the researcher conducted a secondary research where data on culture, wealth and happiness and national level were retrieved form databases that are publicly available. To analyze the data measures on peace/violence, gross national income, gross domestic product, life satisfaction, happiness and individualisms/collectivism were calculated and contrasted using ANOVAs and regression analysis. This was followed by meta-analysis of the experiential research. The research results demonstrated an association between happiness and adversity, and moderate impact collectivism has on the association of this kind. The researcher interpreted this by claiming that poor nations clearly lower their adversity as their riches increase. This accounts for their swiftly increasing happiness as a national income function. Provided that adversity is not essentially lowered any more by rising income once a person is already rich, the researchers argue that the curve flattening coincides with peace or security threshold. In this regard, nations which are peaceful and rich, rising income turns to be moderately less unsuccessful in generating more happiness.

Hsee, C. K., Yang, Y., Li, N., & Shen, L. (2009). Wealth, warmth, and well-being: Whether happiness is relative or absolute depends on whether it is about money, acquisition, or consumption. Journal of Marketing Research, 46, 396-409.

In this paper, the central question in happiness and consumer study is if happiness relies on relative or absolute levels of consumption and wealth. To handle this question, the authors analyses a finer degree above overall happiness and identify three particular forms of happiness that include item consumption, item acquisition and money. The researcher formulated three hypotheses based on acquisition, consumption and money. They then conducted three different studies to test the three hypotheses. The researcher used experimentation methodology to collect data in the four studies. In this case experiments were conducted to represent two-society scenario in each case, where participants were assigned into two separate groups and treated differently. The participants were then question on their feeling after full participation and the results were recorded. The research included 89 students in study 1, 77 students in the study 2, 136 students in study 3 and 6951 individuals in study 4. The fourth study involved a survey around China regarding purchases and acquisition of item. The researchers then analyzed the data using analysis of variance (ANOVA) on the data of monetary experience, on consumption experience and on acquisition experience. The researchers established that happiness with acquisition and money is relative and that consumption happiness can either be relative or subjective depending on id the consumption is integrally evaluable or not. According to the researcher, this research resulted to the implications of how to augment consumer happiness from one generation to the other.

Quoidbach, J., Dunn, E. W., Petrides, K. V., & Mikolajczak, M. (2010). Money giveth, money taketh away: The due effect of wealth on happiness. Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. Retrieved from <>

In this paper the authors provide the evidence that money destroys the ability of individuals to savor daily positive experiences and emotions. The research is based on the question whether enjoying good aspects of life undermines the ability of an individual to taste everyday joys. The research employed online survey to test their hypothesis. The study involved 374 Belgium University of Liege adult employees from senior administrators to custodial staff. The participants were engaged in an online survey by use of an online questionnaire, where only 351 responds were viable for analysis. The four evaluated variables include savoring, money prime, happiness and current wealth. Regression data analysis technique was employed to analyze the relation between the identified variables. The research results demonstrated that wealth might impair savoring. However, the aptitude to savor positive emotions was not associated to the wealth desire. It was also established that emotional advantages of wealth were suppressed by the negative effect of wealth on savoring. Therefore according to the researchers’ interpretation, wealth might fail to bring the happiness one may expect due to its detrimental effect on savoring.

Schimmel, J. (2009). Development as happiness: the subjective perception of happiness and UNDP’s analysis of poverty, wealth and development. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10, 93-111.

This paper evaluates the extent in which the happiness concept is complementary to the human development technique of the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) in evaluation of development, wealth and poverty. To evaluate the effect on UNDP on people happiness, the researcher conducted a literature review based research.  The research involved analysis of the perspective of the UNDP on poverty, development and wealth via its disclosure on as well as its measurement of the three concepts. The happiness concepts is then defined and applied to the three UNDP dimensions of development technique, examines and detects further dimensions essential for human happiness and ultimately contrasts the UNDP country rankings and happiness studies. The research is said to be in the initial stages and thus, more may be done in the future. Although the research is not completed in this article, the article establishes that increased income, higher education level, and better health objective do not automatically result to greater happiness and thus, the UNDP definition of happiness may not be shared by all who receive their assistance.


A number of researches have been done to evaluate the relation between wealth and happiness for individuals or a group of community. However, there has been very little done on the relation between country’s wealth and the happiness of its dwellers. According to (Senik, 2014), wealth accumulated stock is probable to influence happiness indirectly through its influence on the GDP growth rate. This is due to the fact that both the income flows level and the income growth rate has been demonstrated to highly influence the well-being of people. However there have been no researches conducted to evaluate this claim. In this regard, the researcher should focus on evaluating whether there is a direct connection between the country GDP and citizens happiness.

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