Correlational findings

Study Howell et al. (2006): study MY 2003

Heads of households, Malaysia, 2003
N = 307
Non Response
Interview: face-to-face
Structured interview


Authors's Label
wealth composite index; possessions&savings
Our Classification
Material wealth (USD): M=538; SD=411
Log-savings                  M=1,61; SD=1,28
Composite (z-scores)    M=0,00; SD=1,57
A wealth composite index; formed as the sum of z-scores for:
a. material wealth
b. log of savings.

Material wealth: possessions of household-members on a list of items; each item gets a weight based on its market price as a used good. In order of decreasing price: a gas stove, a motorcycle, radio, television, electricity, bicycle,indoor bathroom, chainsaw,  VCD player, generator, cellular phone, automobile, refrigirator.

Observed Relation with Happiness

Happiness Measure Statistics Elaboration / Remarks C-Sum-u-mq-n-7-b r = +.23 p < .01 Correlation between wealth and life satisfaction is stronger if measurement errors for life satisfaction are removed (from .23 to .43). In rich nations measurements errors are less substantial (Cronbach alpha is .83, in poor nations .64) and the correlation would only increase from .13 to .15. The difference in correlation between life satisfaction and wealth in poor and rich nations (.43 versus .15) supports the need theory for life satisfaction (see picure).