LONDON (Reuters) — The adage that "money can't buy happiness" is quite wrong, with even quite small lottery wins or inheritances able to produce lasting contentment, new research published in Britain has shown.
Professors Andrew Oswald and Jonathan Gardner of Warwick University in central England tracked 9,000 families over the past decade to study whether there was a link between cash windfalls and contentment.
"We find a very strong link between cash falling on you and higher contentment and better mental health in the following year," said Oswald a leading researcher in the area of happiness and economic performance.
"We have found effects from even tiny windfalls of 1,000 pounds ($1,400). And the more you get, the better you feel," he told BBC radio.
A windfall of a million pounds, the research showed, would be enough to transform even the most miserable person into a picture of joy.
The study, which the authors say is the best scientific evidence yet on the link between cash windfalls, such as lottery wins or an inheritance, and happiness goes some way to proving the central tenet of economics that money makes people happy.
But Oswald stressed that the research looked at the average person and could not account for everyone.
The Sun newspaper, for example, carried a story Wednesday about a tramp who won nearly 2 million pounds on Britain's National Lottery two years ago but ended up drinking himself to death.