The Economic Perspective: “What Matters?

I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.   Today’s program asks, what matters.  Mike, there’s been a longtime on-going discussion about what really matters in making people happy.  This is obviously a very broad question encompassing many fields.  But can you weigh in from an economic viewpoint.

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. Three of top economic considerations would be income, employment, and wealth
  2. Regarding income, studies show happiness rises with income, but only to a point – that is, there are diminishing returns
  3. Part of the reason may be the tradeoff between more income and less leisure time as move up the income scale
  4. But economists have also found people value where they stand relative to others
  5. That is, relative income is important – if your friends have income gains and you don’t – even if you make good income, happiness will often fall
  6. I’m MW

And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.