How Government Can Buy You Happiness

Economists need to start thinking about quality of life
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2008 3:30 PM CDT
Does having more money make you more or less happy?   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – While the jury's still out on whether money can buy happiness, a higher gross domestic product certainly doesn't. In rich countries, well-being really does depend on non-material things like family stability, a friendly community, and job security—and economists should start incorporating quality-of-life issues into policy, John Cassidy writes in Portfolio.

Governments' primary economic goal has long been maximizing the gross domestic product—but a $100 boost in the average Jamaican's income bumps up their measured happiness three times more than the same raise in the US. So while developing countries should fight poverty through economic growth for now, the West should "supplement GDP with other measures of progress."