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News

Study finds that money can't buy it

University Of Chicago : 23 July, 2006  (Technical Article)
More money may allow you to buy a bigger house or a fancier car, but there's one thing it doesn't get you: more sex. There is no correlation between household income and how frequently someone has sex or how many sexual partners someone has, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
In fact, unemployed people tend to have a greater number of sexual partners.

The Beatles song illustrates new economists' finding: 'Can't buy me love.'

The study, based on a University of Chicago database of surveys of 16,000 Americans from 1988 to 2002, is the first to examine whether there is a direct link between income and sex, says David Blanchflower, a professor at Dartmouth College.

Previous research, including work in the 1990s at the University of Chicago, found declining income levels were connected with sexual dysfunction in men and women.

The latest results, which hold true for both men and women, surprised the researchers.

'We thought we'd see some income effects,' says Blanchflower, who wrote the paper with Andrew Oswald of Warwick University in Great Britain.

The paper was part of the pair's attempt to use statistical analysis to determine what makes people happy.

Their latest research did find that people who have sex more often are happier, particularly if they are monogamous.

Oswald and Blanchflower previously had found a small correlation between increased income and greater happiness.

But the link between money and sex just wasn't there.

'This pursuit of money, money, money isn't everything,' Blanchflower says.

The question of what makes people happy has vexed scientists for decades.

Uncovering the answer could have profound effects, and not just on the ability to help more people achieve happiness.

More happiness could lead to a stronger economy by reducing health care costs and increasing productivity.

'We're not people who study sex. We're not people who are psychologists. We're economists,' Blanchflower says. 'So what our interest is, is to try to measure things.'
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