November 27, 2012

Add Health Study: Happy Teens Grow Up to Be Wealthier Too

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers at University College London and the University of Warwick (England) have discovered that positive affect in adolescence and life satisfaction in early adulthood, predict future earnings.  Respondents who demonstrated greater positive affect and life satisfaction as teenagers and young adults had higher incomes in their late 20s. 

Read the Time story here:  Happy Teens Grow Up to Be Wealthier Too (by Belinda Luscombe, released on November 23, 2012). 

Excerpt:  “Which comes first, happiness or money?  Much scholarly head tapping has been devoted to examining whether richer people are happier and if so, how much richer?  Nobel prize-winners have even looked into it.  But a new study suggests that the question could perhaps be looked at the other way around.  Happier teenagers, this study suggests, grow up to be richer adults.

The study, which appeared recently in the Proceedings of the National Association of Sciences, looked at thousands of teenagers and found that those who felt better about life as young adults tended to have higher incomes by the time they turned 29.  Their happiness was measured on a scale of 1 to 5.  Those who were happiest earned an average of $8,000 more than those who were the most despondent.”

Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy at University College London, and a Research Associate of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.  Dr. Andrew J. Oswald is a Professor in the Department of Economics and Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy at the University of Warwick, and a Visiting Fellow and Acting Research Director at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany. 

Scholarly source:  Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Ph.D., and Andrew J. Oswald, Ph.D. (2012). Estimating the influence of life satisfaction and positive affect on later income using sibling fixed effects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences