London, Jan 16 (ANI): Money - and lots of it - is the most important factor in making us feel content, researchers say.
A new report has revealed that happiness levels correlate with the amount of wealth a person accumulates. And, in contrast to popular belief, it does not level off when the assets reach a certain threshold.
The report, by a dozen academics from around the world, has dismissed David Cameron's strategy of promoting happiness over other objectives.
It suggests he would have done far better to invest the time and money into simply making us all better off by boosting Britain's flatlining GDP.
"The Government is spending money on collecting happiness statistics in order to promote government policies to try to increase national happiness," Philip Booth, editorial director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, told The Sunday Times.
"This is a flawed policy and based on a complete misconception," he stated.
The report, drawn from an array of data from 126 countries, has been published to coincide with 'Blue Monday', which has been identified as the most miserable day of the year because of factors including weather, time of year and debt levels.
Its most controversial finding contradicts the widely-held belief that above a certain income level, people do not become any happier.
The theory, conceived in 1974 by wellbeing expert Richard Easterlin, claimed that happiness stagnates when income rises beyond a certain level.
And two years ago, a study at Princeton University claimed to have found that wellbeing stopped increasing at 58,700 pounds - with an increase of as much as a third making little difference.
But the report, The Pursuit of Happiness, condemns the theory as a 'myth' and 'fake'. It argues a 20 per cent rise in income has the same impact on wellbeing irrespective of how much wealth the person has initially.
"No country is rich enough to have hit a satiation point, if such a point exists. These findings are robust and use an extremely rich set of data. Richer individuals are happier with their lives," it stated.
The report says this holds true for 140 countries studied, in which 'the relationship between income and satisfaction is remarkably similar'.
The report's authors include British academics as well as those from Spain, America, Holland and Denmark. (ANI)
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