Random thoughts on happiness: how to be happy?

Happiness is a relative concept. Specifically, how happy you are depends on what your aspirations are, or how high you set the bar. For instance, if you are a blue-collar worker with a relatively low salary, and your current goal is to go on a camping trip to the Rockies, and you can do it, then, ceteris paribus, you are probably happier than a rich investment banker whose goal is to buy a private island but cannot do it because his bonus wasn’t as high as expected.

Of course an economist might ask, does the probability that one’s aspirations are fulfilled vary with income? One would expect that the answer is yes. But actually, it is not always the case. Indeed, if you assume aspirations don’t differ much by socioeconomic status, then of course higher income individuals should be in a better position to fulfill them.

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