Money cannot buy happiness, but most people would choose it anyway, says a new study of more than 2,600 people published in the American Economic Review. For example, if the choice is between a job that pays $80,000 a year and lets you get seven and a half hours of sleep a night, and a job that pays $140,000 a year but allows for just six hours' sleep, most people pick the higher-paying job. Other questions asked about salary versus living close to friends, going home for Thanksgiving versus saving for a vacation, and similar choices.
It's not just about greed, though. Often, people say that more money will mean more family happiness, even if their own happiness is diminished. Status, purpose, and health all also factored into decision-making, often beating out happiness. "We found that people make trade-offs between happiness and other things," says one of the paper's authors, according to LiveScience. “People treat happiness as a commodity and are willing to make tradeoffs.”