Free Time, Money and Happiness: A Fine Balance

Categories: social, economy, governance

What? Research has shown that having more money is incrementally associated with increased happiness. Now researchers at UCLA have explored the relationship between free time, money and overall happiness. The meta-study, integrating surveys and studies involving 4000 Americans, found that two-thirds would choose more money than more free time. However, importantly, the research found that the third of the participants who opted for more free time were the happiest. While a majority of people who wanted more free time rather than more money were older, more likely to have kids and to be married, the relationship between a desire for more free time and greater happiness remained the same across all income groups.

So what? Changes in the nature of work and employment due to increasing automation could influence the equation of free time, money and happiness identified in this study. As a result of more efficient work processes and thus more free time we could witness the emergence of a happier society. Alternately, we could see a decline in happiness because of diminishing incomes and job loss. A widespread decline in happiness, linked to lower incomes, could pose policy challenges and reinforce arguments for the implementation of a basic income.

Source: The Star – Why time-starved people are happier

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