It’s almost hard to fathom that a receiving a large cash windfall from winning the lottery wouldn’t make you happier, but that is apparently exactly the case according to researchers.
A new study led by teams from the Stockholm School of Economics, Stockhold University and New York University found that while lottery winners feel a boost in life satisfaction following their lotto win, they don’t actually feel happier.
Lead researcher Robert Ostling explained to MarketWatch that there is a distinct different between “life satisfaction” which is how people feel about the quality of their lives overall and “happiness” which is a measure of someone’s day-to-day feelings. “Our results suggest it is more difficult to affect happiness than life satisfaction,” Ostling said.
The study looked at 3,362 lottery winners whose gains totaled $277 million examining things like happiness, mental health, and the satisfaction these lotto winners had with their personal finances. The questions they posed ranged from, “‘All things considered, how happy would you say you are?”and “Taking all things together in your life, how satisfied would you say that you are with your life these days?”
The working hypothesis of the study was that winning the lottery would increase a person’s happiness, and the larger the windfall the better. Researchers ultimately found that wasn’t the case at all, but that winners do “appear to enjoy sustained improvement in economic conditions that are robustly detectable for well over a decade after the windfall.”
See, money really can’t buy everything.