Sapiens who spend more money on alcohol are happier

Updated: Apr 14

Remember the smartest man in the multiverse telling Morty “Your only purpose in life is to buy and consume merchandise”? Shocker - we should have taken his advice seriously. Researchers have found that people who spend more money on stuff (after controlling for household income) are happier.

The meta-analysis by Ruut Veenhoven et al. condensed 379 research findings across 99 scientific studies to understand the relationship between subjective happiness and consumption behaviour. Spenders were happier across studies, which were done mostly in rich countries. Conversely, in a finding that seems to justify the minimalism fad, people who voluntarily reduced their consumption in the past 10 years were happier than their peers who did not “downshift”. Also, spending on others made people happier than spending on oneself.

Greater spending on education, food, durables, art, leisure and alcohol resulted in improved happiness. Greater spending on health care and communication was associated with decreased happiness. Splurging on luxuries hardly made people happier.

You can access the full results of the study here.