Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Economics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Money and happiness: Rank of income, not income, affects life satisfaction
Author(s): Boyce, Christopher J
Brown, Gordon D A
Moore, Simon C
Contact Email:
Keywords: rank
relative income
life satisfaction
social comparisons
Economics Psychological aspects
Finance Psychological aspects
Issue Date: Apr-2010
Date Deposited: 13-May-2013
Citation: Boyce CJ, Brown GDA & Moore SC (2010) Money and happiness: Rank of income, not income, affects life satisfaction. Psychological Science, 21 (4), pp. 471-475.
Abstract: Does money buy happiness, or does happiness come indirectly from the higher rank in society that money brings? We tested a rank-income hypothesis, according to which people gain utility from the ranked position of their income within a comparison group. The rank hypothesis contrasts with traditional reference-income hypotheses, which suggest that utility from income depends on comparison to a social reference-group norm. We found that the ranked position of an individual's income predicts general life satisfaction, whereas absolute income and reference income have no effect. Furthermore, individuals weight upward comparisons more heavily than downward comparisons. According to the rank hypothesis, income and utility are not directly linked: Increasing an individual's income will increase his or her utility only if ranked position also increases and will necessarily reduce the utility of others who will lose rank.
DOI Link: 10.1177/0956797610362671
Rights: Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Psychological Science, April 2010 vol. 21 no. 4 pp.471-475 by SAGE. The original publication is available at

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
BoyceBrownMoore_PsychScience.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version133.93 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.