Winning the lottery does make you happy, scientists find

Close up of hands filling up a lottery ticket form a concept of gambling

Winning the lottery does make you happier, according to a groundbreaking new study.

German scientists Andrew J. Oswald and Rainer Winkelmann used data to analyse the happiness of scores of people who had won money on the lottery.

They found that satisfaction was “especially pronounced for big wins”.

According to Oswald and Winkelmann, their findings contradict previous work on the subject which reportedly found “almost no evidence that winners become happier”.

Lottery ticket on the floor. Symbolic image of losing at gambling and wasting money.

“Our estimates show that lottery wins raise people’s satisfaction with their overall income,” they say in the study which was released last week.

“Second, lottery wins’ increase people’s satisfaction with life.”

Only last year a study carried out by researchers at the Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm University and New York University claimed the satisfaction that comes from winning the jackpot only lasts a maximum of 10 years.

"Large-prize winners experience sustained increases in overall life satisfaction that persist for a decade," the researchers told USA Today.


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By studying a total of 3,362 winners from five to 22 years after winning, they found there was almost no increase in happiness among those who won up to $100,000.

While a 1978 study which compared 22 lottery winners with 29 people who were paralyzed in accidents showed the jackpot winners struggle to find joy in what researchers called "mundane pleasures".

Lottery winners didn't report being significantly happier than those who had been in the accidents.

Psychologist Melissa Dahl also claimed in a 2016 article that the happiness of winning the lottery becomes “less intense” over time.

"Eventually, the thrill of winning the lottery will itself wear off,” Dahl wrote in The Cut.

“As lottery winners become accustomed to the additional pleasures made possible by their new wealth, these pleasures should be experienced as less intense and should no longer contribute very much to their general level of happiness."