Living among the affluent: Boon or bane? Psychological Science, 25, 1235-1241


Tay, L., Morrison, M., & Diener (2014). Living among the affluent: Boon or bane? Psychological Science, 25(6), 1235-1241.


This study examined whether national income can have effects on happiness, or subjective well-being (SWB), over and above those of personal income. To assess the incremental effects of national income on SWB, we conducted cross-sectional multilevel analysis on data from 838,151 individuals in 158 nations. Although greater personal income was consistently related to higher SWB, we found that national income was a boon to life satisfaction but a bane to daily feelings of well-being; individuals in richer nations experienced more worry and anger on average. We also found moderating effects: The income-SWB relationship was stronger at higher levels of national income. This result might be explained by cultural norms, as money is valued more in richer nations. The SWB of more residentially mobile individuals was less affected by national income. Overall, our results suggest that the wealth of the nation one resides in has consequences for one’s happiness.

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