A response to: Ronald Inglehart, Globalization and Post-Modern Values, The Washington Quarterly, Winter 2000, pp.215-228. (See here for the wider project).
Conclusions from the study:
1. Reported happiness rises with income up to about U.S.$10,000, at which point it gives no apparent further benefit. (appears to me from the graph that rapidly diminishing marginal returns to income set in from about $6,000).
2. Reported happiness correlates strongly with stable democratic institutions and open societies.
3. Post-materialist values correlate positively with rising income (and with having grown up in wealthy secure societies).
4. Average Life Expectancy rises with income up to about U.S. $10,000 (again, appears to me from the graph that rapidly diminishing marginal returns appear to set in from from about $6,000).
5. Unhappy ex-communist societies are a special case. My hypothesis would be that this result is because of the breakdown of social trust and cooperation through the years of communist rule, as well as the decline in income. If true, it is an marked warning about the consequences of policies that reduce social cohesion and increase fear and mistrust.