August 1, 2021

[INTERVIEW] Does Money Really Make You Happy? The Research with Johannes Haushofer

What link is there between happiness and income? Does winning the lottery make you happier? What does the research say about poverty and our mental health? 

Our guest on this episode has researched the psychological effects money has on our wellbeing and on our society. Johannes Haushofer is the Assistant Professor of Economics at Stockholm University and has taught at Princeton University for the past six years. 

Johannes realized that not enough research on these topics has been conducted outside of the Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic countries (WEIRD countries). So he founded the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Nairobi, Kenya: https://busaracenter.org/. We talk with him about how he founded the center and what research he has been able to do there.

A few years ago, in an effort to make a friend feel better Johannes published his ‘CV of Failures’ that detailed every degree program that had rejected him and all the research funding he didn’t get. It went viral as people lapped up the counterintuitive idea of celebrating failure.  

Despite having a well published list of failures, Johannes has a multitude of successes. One of which is that he is a serious vocalist with access to a deeper range in his lower voice known as the vocal fry register. We have a great discussion about the central role that music has played in his life.

Topics We Discuss with Johannes

(2:21) Welcome and speed round questions.

(4:06) What is the relationship between income and happiness?

(12:24) How spending changes when people are given one lump sum of money vs. monthly payments.

(15:51) What research is there about Universal Basic Income?

(17:43) What effect does winning the lottery have on us?

(21:17) Why Johannes’ “CV of Failures” that went viral.

(26:00) Johannes’ views on the replication crisis in psychology.

(29:21) How Johannes founded the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Kenya.

(33:20) The link between mental health and poverty.

(35:07) How stress impacts choices.

(36:16) Johannes’ experience of singing in Swedish Choirs.

Listen next to our Grooving Session (episode #243) where Kurt and Tim discuss the insight from our interview with Johannes.

If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider donating to our work through Patreon https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves. We also love reading your reviews on the podcast, which gives other listeners social proof that we’re worth listening to!

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves 

Links

Johannes Haushofer site: https://haushofer.ne.su.se/ 

Busara Center for Behavioral Economics: https://busaracenter.org/ 

 

TEDMED Talk: "Johannes Haushofer, The Psychological Consequences of Poverty" https://www.tedmed.com/talks/show?id=621424 

Vocal Fry Register: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_fry_register 

Johannes Haushofer, CV of Failures: https://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/document/download/bed2706fd34e29822004dbe29cd00bb5.pdf/Johannes_Haushofer_CV_of_Failures[1].pdf 

Episode 41: Michael Hallsworth: From MINDSPACE to EAST: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/michael-hallsworth-from-mindspace-to-east/

Melanie Stefan “Keeping a visible record of your rejected applications can help others to deal with setbacks”: https://www.nature.com/articles/nj7322-467a 

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, “Subjective Well-Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation?”: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.103.3.598 

Episode 176: Annie Duke on How to Decide: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/annie-duke-on-how-to-decide/

Episode 202: How Chaning Jang Works Around Not Being WEIRD: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/how-chaning-jang-works-around-not-being-weird/

Behavioral Grooves Patreon https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves

Musical Links

Johannes singing a Sea Shanty: https://twitter.com/jhaushofer/status/1351267627461734402?s=20  

Johannes singing on the streets of Stockholm:   https://twitter.com/jhaushofer/status/851066608109924352?s=20  

Johannes’ Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/16NMYSIfdiaz7K81AFGPtJ?si=gdqJ7xQSRQObxsJaN7r1Og

Joan Baez “Diamonds and Rust”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrVD0bP_ybg 

St Olaf Choir, “Shenandoah”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBiP_kDI-Ak 

Alex Dmitrieff (Basso Profondo) - Alliluia - Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv0nuACLqJE&ab_channel=TheOktavismChannel 

Simon & Garfunkel "The Boxer": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3LFML_pxlY&ab_channel=SimonGarfunkelVEVO 

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