You don't need a big lottery win for long term happiness… but a few thousand helps

Sep 19, 2006

Researchers at the University of Warwick and Watson Wyatt have been examining just how much money one needs to win in the lottery to have a long term impact on personal happiness. Unsurprisingly the researchers found that small wins in tens or hundreds of pounds made little long term difference, but they also found one did not need to win the jackpot to gain a significant increase in long-term mental wellbeing.

In work to be published in the Journal of Health Economics, researchers Professor Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick and Dr Jonathan Gardner from Watson Wyatt showed that medium-sized lottery wins ranging from around just £1000 to £120,000 had a long term sustained impact in the overall happiness of those winners. On average, two years after their win medium-sized lottery winners had a mental wellbeing GHQ score 1.4 points better than previously - meaning loosely that two years after their win they were just over 10% happier than the average person without a win or only a tiny lottery win.

Intriguingly the researchers also found that this increased happiness is not obvious immediately after the medium-sized win and takes some time to show through. Economist Professor Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick said:

"This delay could be due the short term disruptive effect on one's live of actually winning, but a more plausible explanation of the delay is that initially many windfall lottery funds are saved and spent later."

The researchers studied 14 years of longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) which tracks 5,000 British households.

Source: University of Warwick

Explore further: Education Dept awards $75M in innovation grants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In search of time travelers

Jan 06, 2014

(Phys.org) —It started over a poker game. Astrophysicist Robert Nemiroff and his students were playing cards (for chips) last summer, chatting about Facebook. They wondered: If there were time travelers ...

Israeli restaurant: Turn off phone, get discount

Nov 20, 2013

A restaurant owner in an Arab village outside of Jerusalem says he is on a mission to save culinary culture by making diners a simple offer: Turn off your cellphone and get a 50 percent discount.

California feeling fallout from Facebook's stock plunge

Aug 03, 2012

Facebook stock plunged to an all-time low of nearly half its IPO price Thursday, but it's not just investors feeling the pinch: The state of California stands to lose "hundreds of millions of dollars" in the fallout, state ...

A debate: Should you jump in on Facebook debut?

May 18, 2012

(AP) -- Facebook begins selling stock to the public Friday in the most talked-about market debut in years. Two Associated Press business writers are debating whether the stock is a smart buy.

Want a piece of Facebook? Get in line

May 14, 2012

Facebook may be the year's hottest stock issue -- but try getting a piece of it. Small investors will find the line long and hurdles high to get even a handful of shares.

Recommended for you

Research band at Karolinska tuck Dylan gems into papers

Sep 29, 2014

(Phys.org) —A 17-year old bet among scientists at the Karolinska Institute has been a wager that whoever wrote the most articles with Dylan quotes before they retired would get a free lunch. Results included ...

A simulation game to help people prep for court

Sep 25, 2014

Preparing for court and appearing before a judge can be a daunting experience, particularly for people who are representing themselves because they can't afford a lawyer or simply don't know all the ropes ...

When finding 'nothing' means something

Sep 25, 2014

Scientists usually communicate their latest findings by publishing results as scientific papers in journals that are almost always accessible online (albeit often at a price), ensuring fast sharing of latest ...

User comments : 0