Despite what our most cynical instincts would have us believe, it looks like the old adage is true: money really can't buy you happiness.
A team of researchers from the London School of Economics collated responses from 200,000 people around the world, focusing upon the effect that different factors had upon their wellbeing. Their findings revealed that being in a happy relationship saw the biggest increase in contentment, while suffering from anxiety or depression brought about the biggest decrease.
While love seemed to be the key to a happy life, money didn't seem to register on the contentment scale. Measured from one to 10, doubling someone's pay saw their happiness rise by less than 0.2 The researchers believe this is because we care more about our incomes in relation to what others earn, than how it actually affects our quality of life.
Unemployment, depression and anxiety saw happiness drop by 0.7 on this scale, while the loss of a partner (due to separation or to death) saw a drop of 0.6.
Co-author Professor Richard Layard argued that the findings of his report prove that the government needs to focus on the happiness and wellbeing of its citizens - 'wellbeing creation' - rather than placing an emphasis upon 'wealth creation.'
'The evidence shows that the things that matter most for our happiness and for our misery are our social relationships and our mental and physical health,' he said.
'In the past, the state has successively taken on poverty, unemployment, education, and physical health,' he added. 'But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania and much else. These should become centre stage.'