Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Happiness and wealth - are the fruits of your selling success ever satiated ?

“ … there is now overwhelming evidence that wealth is good for one’s well-being with no upper limit.”

Allister Heath’s editorial in City AM April 30th 2013 delighted in what he sees to be ‘proof’ that the more money we earn , the happier we are.

He quoted research from the University of Michigan study by Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson published by the Brookings Institution of 1,014 individuals with varying incomes asking whether or not they were happy and how satisfied they are with their lives.

 (Back in the day 1974 Richard Easterlin  posited that increasing average income did not raise average well-being, a claim that became known as the 'Easterlin Paradox')

Stevenson and Wolfers found no evidence of a satiation point. The income–well-being link   when examining only the poor,  is similar to that found when examining only the rich.


They show that their findings are robust across a variety of sets of data, for various measures of subjective well-being, at several thresholds, and that it holds in roughly equal measure when making cross-national comparisons between rich and poor countries as when making comparisons between rich and poor people within a country.

Their study  is confined to the sorts of evaluative measures of life satisfaction and happiness and shows that the focus of proponents of the (modified) Easterlin hypothesis  to be questionable.

 Income and well being illustrated by Gallop world poll for cross country and inter country comparisons show equivalent relationships in their study of 25 countries.

Life satisfaction rises logarithmically as GDP per Capital increases-rich nations have more satisfied citizens than poorer ones

It will be interesting to see whether this study has any effect on our views in selling and sales management when considering areas of motivation – Hierarchy of needs, Vroom, Hygiene factors etc.

Measurements of happiness unlike measurements wealth are subjective. Happy people with a positive outlook tend to do better at work and are more likely  to be appointed to better paid jobs.

Maybe ? !

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