Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1557–1573 | Cite as

Beyond Income: The Importance for Life Satisfaction of Having Access to a Cash Margin

  • Martin Berlin
  • Niklas KaunitzEmail author
Research Paper


We study how life satisfaction among adult Swedes is influenced by having access to a cash margin, i.e. a moderate amount of money that could be acquired on short notice either through own savings, by loan from family or friends, or by other means. We find that cash margin is a strong and robust predictor of life satisfaction, also when controlling for individual fixed-effects and socio-economic conditions, including income. Since it shows not to matter whether cash margin comes from own savings or with help from family members, this measure captures something beyond wealth.


Life satisfaction Income Cash margin Subjective well-being Living conditions 



This paper has benefitted greatly from suggestions for improvements by Markus Jäntti and Anders Björklund. The authors also wish to express their gratitude towards Johan Egebark, Louise Johannesson, Maria Perrotta Berlin, and seminar participants at SOFI and at the Department of Economics at Stockholm University for valuable comments. Niklas Kaunitz gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation. Finally, the authors wish to thank an anonymous referee for drawing our attention to the suitable Dickens quote.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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