||Two economists, David Blanch flower of Dartmouth College and Andrew Oswald of Warwick University in the United Kingdom, have systematically analyzed surveys over a nearly 30-year period that ask individuals to describe themselves as happy, pretty happy, or not too happy. The results of their work are provocative. Over the last 30 years, reported levels of happiness have declined slightly in the United States and remained relatively flat in the United Kingdom despite very large increases in per capita income in both countries. Could it be the increased stress of everyday life has taken its toll on our happiness despite the increase in income? At any point in time, however, money does appear to buy happiness. Holding other factors constant, individuals with higher incomes do report higher levels of personal satisfaction. But these other factors are quite important. Unemployment and divorce lead to sharply lower levels of satisfaction. Blanch flower and Oswald calculate that a stable marriage is worth $100,000 per year in terms of equivalent reported satisfaction. Perhaps most interesting are their findings about trends in the relative happiness of different groups in our society. While whites report higher levels of happiness than African Americans, the gap has decreased over the last 30 years, as the happiness of African Americans has risen faster than that of whites. Men s happiness has risen relative to that of women over the last 30 years. Finally, in recent work Blanch flower and Oswald looked at how happiness varies over the life cycle. Controlling for income, education, and other personal factors, they found that in the United States, happiness among men and women reaches a minimum at the ages of 49 and 45, respectively. Since these are also the years in which earnings are usually the highest, it does suggest that work takes its toll on happiness.