Economists and sex

This paper studies the links between income, sexual behavior and reported happiness. It uses recent data on a random sample of 16,000 adult Americans. The paper finds that sexual activity enters strongly positively in happiness equations. Greater income does not buy more sex, nor more sexual partners. The typical American has sexual intercourse 2-3 times a month. Married people have more sex than those who are single, divorced, widowed or separated. Sexual activity appears to have greater effects on the happiness of highly educated people than those with low levels of education. The happiness-maximizing number of sexual partners in the previous year is calculated to be 1. Highly educated females tend to have fewer sexual partners. Homosexuality has no statistically significant effect on happiness. Our conclusions are based on pooled cross-section equations in which it is not possible to correct for the endogeneity of sexual activity. The statistical results should be treated cautiously.

Wow, read that carefully. How do you even pick a sentence to underline? 2 to 3 times a month? Greater income doesn’t buy more sex? The highly educated need sex more?

And yes, you can read more, at least if you will cough up the $5. That’s all from a recent NBER working paper.

Thanks to Karol Boudreaux for the pointer.


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