Why am I sceptical about this?
While most people believe that having more income would make them happier, Princeton University researchers have found that the link is greatly exaggerated and mostly an illusion.The report goes on to say that, according to the study, 'the effect of income on mood was vastly exaggerated'; and according to one of the researchers, income 'matters very little for moment-to-moment experience'.
People surveyed about their own happiness and that of others with varying incomes tended to overstate the impact of income on well-being, according to a new study. Although income is widely assumed to be a good measure of well-being, the researchers found that its role is less significant than predicted and that people with higher incomes do not necessarily spend more time in more enjoyable ways.
I'm bothered by the seeming equivalences set up here between 'well-being', on the one hand, and 'happiness' or 'mood', on the other. There are surely some objective indices of well-being - such as health, longevity, the quality of housing a person can afford, the other opportunities affordable by them, and so forth. Research showing that it doesn't make people feel any better if they do better by these various indices may be telling us something - obviously you can be miserable however rich you are - but the one thing it doesn't show is that income is irrelevant to well-being.