Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 779–793 | Cite as

Income, Motivation, and Satisfaction with Life: An Empirical Analysis

  • Maria del Mar Salinas-JiménezEmail author
  • Joaquín Artés
  • Javier Salinas-Jiménez
Research Paper


This paper focuses on how different types of motivations can condition satisfaction with life, studying whether individual heterogeneity in motivations affects the relationship between income and life satisfaction and whether the relationship between motivation and satisfaction differs for people in different income-groups. Data used in this study comes from the World Values Survey and the focus is placed on the relationship between income, motivation and satisfaction with life. Once variables such as gender, age, religion, health or education are controlled for, we find that different motivations significantly affect individual wellbeing. Moreover, our results suggest that moving from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation leads individuals to enjoy greater satisfaction with life. This is so independent of the level of income, but the role of intrinsic motivation is particularly significant for people in the low-income class. Life satisfaction also increases, within extrinsic motivation, when moving from importance placed on a good income to focusing on security and, within intrinsic motivation, when moving from emphasis placed on social relatedness to an increased feeling of accomplishment. Overall, our results suggest that different goals and intended outcomes condition individual’s perceptions of wellbeing, with intrinsic motivations being crucial in attaining greater levels of satisfaction with life.


Life satisfaction Income Extrinsic motivation Intrinsic motivation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria del Mar Salinas-Jiménez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joaquín Artés
    • 2
  • Javier Salinas-Jiménez
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de EconomíaUniversidad de ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Economía Aplicada IV, Economía Política y Hacienda Pública, Facultad de DerechoUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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