You can put a price on happiness, and new study says it's a bargain

Money can't buy me love, The Beatles sang, and the best things in life are free – but according to new research, they couldn't have been more wrong. Not only is the happiness of falling in love indistinguishable from that of winning the pools but, says a leading Australian economist, it's worth a lot less.

In exhaustive research involving nearly 10,000 people and taking eight years to complete, Professor Paul Frijters claims to have established that happiness is really quite cheap. And the monetary value of events such as marriage, moving house and bereavement is dramatically different depending on whether you are a man or a woman.

Men, his research finds, are both far more exalted and more depressed by changes in their lives. To an Australian man marriage is worth about £17,000, but to a woman it is worth only half that. Likewise, men are far more affected by divorce.

Mr Frijters' team tracked the major life events of his subjects over a period of years and asked them to assign a number between 0 and 10 to their state of mind after important life events and sudden changes in income. This enabled him to put a money value on what he called the "psychic costs" and "psychic benefits" of these changes.

Sad events have a much bigger impact than happy ones, Professor Frijters says, dramatically so for men: the death of a partner or a child is like the loss of £350,000 to a man, but only £73,000 to a woman.

"Losing a loved one has a much bigger effect than gaining a loved one," Professor Frijters told the Sydney Morning Herald. "There's a real asymmetry between life and death. This shouldn't surprise us. Human beings seem primed to notice losses more than gains."

And some events are experienced as gains by one sex but losses by the other: moving house, for example, which is the equivalent of losing around £9,000 to a man; for a woman it's like a present of about £1,500.

The cost of living: How emotions add up

*Marriage

Women: +£8,726 Men: +£17,675

*Birth of child

Women: +£4,867 Men: +£18,236

*Divorce

Women: -£4,977 Men: -£61,116

*Death of loved one

women: -£73,205 Men: -£350,830

*Moving house

Women: +£1,454 Men: -£8,947

Source: Paul Frijters' study

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people

Sport
nflAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
music

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

News
The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Telecoms Engineer - Telecoms Administrator - London - £26,000

£26000 per annum + 25 days holiday & further benefits: Ashdown Group: Telecomm...

Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are seeking a confident...

Senior Data Analyst - London - £38,000

£30000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Data Analyst - Lon...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London