Love & Happiness

Does Love really make you Happy?

A small child is sitting on its mother´s lap- it feels happy and sheltered. Two young adults swear an eternal friendship- they are happy to have each other. A young couple is newly in love and feels butterflies in their stomach. They are bursting with happiness. They all have one thing in common: The love for another human being. Thus, one could simply say love makes happy. However, is it really possible to generalize this claim? And how happy does love make people in relationships?

Focus on the Subjective Well-Being

Topics like love and happiness are as old as mankind itself. Already many ancient philosophers dedicated themselves thoroughly to the topic of happiness. For example, according to Aristotle people strive for happiness for its own sake and not to achieve something else. However, whoever wants to research happiness empirically has to detach the philosophical approach. The Dutch emeritus professor Ruut Veenhoven from the Erasmus University Rotterdam is a pioneer in the area of happiness research. He deals with the subjective well-being in his studies, in other words: with happiness. By establishing the World Database of Happiness he created a unique collection of research findings. It is based on a few thousands studies of several scientists who examined different variable in correlation with happiness.
Is a person with a high income happier than someone with a lower income? No- a high-earning physician is not necessarily happier than a lesser earning nurse. Happiness and income do not have a strong correlation- at least not in the wealthy western world. There are other variable standing in correlation with happiness like health, freedom, safety, equality and education. Naturally, there are a lot more factors playing a role concerning the evaluation of happiness. The cultural background, the nationality, the place of residence or the age are also relevant.

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  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Oswald Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Prof. Dr. Ronnie Schöb Professor for International Public Economics, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven Emeritus Professor Social Conditions of Human Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Carmelo Vazquez President of the International Positive Psychology association
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl Folkwang University Essen
  • Dr. Martijn Burger Academic Director Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation
  • Dr. Adam Okulicz Kozaryn Researcher Rutgers University
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