Does Money Buy Satisfaction?

  • Otis Dudley Duncan
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 26)


There was no change in the distribution of satisfaction with the standard of living among Detroit area wives between 1955 and 1971, although current-dollar median family income more than doubled and constant-dollar income increased by forty per cent. Cross-sectional variation in satisfaction is, however, related to income and, in particular, to relative position in the income distribution. Whereas regressions of satisfaction on income in current or constant dollars, or the logarithm thereof, suggest that at the same income there was less satisfaction in 1971 than in 1955, there is no significant year effect in the equation using the income-position variable. Easterlin’s thesis that rising levels of income do not produce rises in the average subjective estimate of welfare is supported. The thesis raises difficult questions for students of subjective social indicators.


Income Distribution Consumer Price Index Satisfaction Score Russell Sage Foundation Social Indicator Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andrews, F. M. and Withey, S. B., ‘Developing Measures of Perceived Life Quality: Results from Several National Surveys’, Social Indicators Research 1 (1974), 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blood, R. O., Jr. and Wolfe, D. M., Husbands and Wives, Free Press, New York, 1960.Google Scholar
  3. Duncan, O. D., Schuman, H., and Duncan, B., Social Change in a Metropolitan Community, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 1973.Google Scholar
  4. Easterlin, R. A., ‘Does Money Buy Happiness?’, The Public Interest 30 (1973), 3–10.Google Scholar
  5. Easterlin, R. A., ‘Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence’, in P. A. David and M. W. Reder (eds.), Nations and Households in Economic Growth, Academic Press, New York, 1974.Google Scholar
  6. Rainwater, L., What Money Buys, Basic Books, New York, 1974.Google Scholar
  7. Simon, G., ‘Alternative Analyses for the Singly-Ordered Contingency Table’, Journal of the American Statistical Association 69 (1974), 971–976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1974 (95th ed.), U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1974.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Otis Dudley Duncan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of ArizonaUSA

Personalised recommendations