Spending money on others “buys” you happiness

They say money can’t buy you happiness, but new research suggests that it can, if you spend it on someone else.

“Simply making very small changes in how you spend money can make a difference for happiness,” said Elizabeth Dunn, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, who led the research along with a professor at Harvard Business School.”

They tested their theory at a small Boston-area medical supply company, where employees received fat bonuses averaging about $5,000, measuring levels of happiness before and after. What they found, said Michael I. Norton, assistant professor at Harvard Business School, was that “the size of the bonus you get has no relation to how happy you are, but the amount you spend on other people does predict how happy you are.”

Read Boston Globe article here and view other Social Capital blog entries on happiness.

Dunn et al. article appears here: “Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness” by Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lara B. Aknin, and Michael I. Norton, Science, 3/21/08 319: 1687-1688

See also Harvard Gazette article on this research.

One response to “Spending money on others “buys” you happiness

  1. i love this study!

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