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Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


Do biomarkers explain why some people are happier than others?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 15 September 2017

Alex Bryson and Petri Böckerman
What makes us happy? It sounds a simple enough question. Intuitively, we know what we like – being with friends, going to the movies. In the moment, we know what’s likely to make us happy. Evidence from app-devices that ding people at random moments mostly confirm the rank order of events that make us happy: sex and intimacy comes top, being sick in bed comes bottom.
Work comes second bottom. This might come as a surprise to most, though not to economists who have long thought that work is a disutility (it fails to satisfy human wants) and, in the moment, we’d rather be doing other things. The evidence also confirms we’d usually rather be outdoors in green spaces, and doing things with friends. We also know a lot about the things that go to make a fulfilling worthwhile life such as having a family. Paid work scores highly on (more…)