Income’s Differential Influence on Judgments of Life Versus AffectiveWell-Being

  • Ed DienerEmail author
  • Daniel Kahneman
  • Raksha Arora
  • James Harter
  • William Tov
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 39)


Findings are presented indicating that measures of subjective well-being can be ordered along a dimension varying from evaluative judgments of life at one end to experienced affect at the other. A debate in recent decades has focused on whether increasing income raises the experience of well-being. We found that judgment measures are more strongly associated with income and with the long-term changes of national income. Measures of affect showed lower correlations with income in cross-sectional analyses, as well as lower associations with long-term rising income. Measures of concepts such as “Happiness” and “Life Satisfaction” appear to be saturated with varying mixtures of judgment and affect, and this is reflected in the degree to which they correlate with income. The results indicate that measures of well-being fall along one dimension with different factors influencing scores at each end. Both types of well-being, judgment and affect, show very similar patterns of declining marginal utility with increasing income.


Life Satisfaction Marginal Utility Evaluative Judgment Income Change Social Indicator Research 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ed Diener
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Kahneman
    • 2
  • Raksha Arora
    • 3
  • James Harter
    • 4
  • William Tov
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  4. 4.The Gallup OrganizationWashingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologySouthwest Minnesota State University,MarshallUSA

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