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Winning the lottery doesn’t make you happier, new study finds

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SALT LAKE CITY — Winning the lottery won’t make you happier, according to a new study.

What’s going on: Millions of people across the country are buying tickets for the Mega Millions lottery. But those people won’t necessarily be any happier.

A new study from researchers at the Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm University and New York University found that jackpot winners feel a level of life satisfaction for about 10 years that might not wane.

  • The winners won’t blow their winnings, either.
  • “Large-prize winners experience sustained increases in overall life satisfaction that persist for over a decade and show no evidence of dissipating with time,” the researchers concluded.

Why it matters: The study comes as millions of people across the country buy tickets for the Mega Millions lottery.

  • The lottery currently holds a jackpot of more than $1 billion, CNBC reports.

Happiness vs. satisfaction: Researcher Robert Ostling told MarketWatch that “life satisfaction” is different from happiness since it refers to your overall quality of life. “Happiness,” though, measures your day-to-day feelings.

  • Researchers thought lottery money would make people happy and improve mental health.
  • However, researchers found those who won at least $100,000 didn’t have an increase in happiness or mental health.
  • Winners “appear to enjoy sustained improvement in economic conditions that are robustly detectable for well over a decade after the windfall,” the authors wrote.

Method: Researchers studied 3,362 winners from five to 22 years after winning.

  • In total, the winners earned $277 million.
  • Researchers measured their participants’ happiness, mental health, financial satisfaction and life satisfaction.

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