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美国富人和你想象的不一样,幸福也是

The Rich Are Not Who We Think They Are. And Happiness Is Not What We Think It Is, Either.
美国富人和你想象的不一样,幸福也是

We now know who is rich in America. And it’s not who you might have guessed.

现在我们知道美国的富人是什么样的人了。可能不是你想象的那样。

A groundbreaking 2019 study by four economists, “Capitalists in the Twenty-First Century,” analyzed de-identified data of the complete universe of American taxpayers to determine who dominated the top 0.1 percent of earners.

在2019年进行的一项开创性研究“21世纪的资本家”中,四位经济学家分析了美国全体纳税人去除身份信息后的数据,以确定最富有的0.1%人群中主要是些什么人。
 

The study didn’t tell us about the small number of well-known tech and shopping billionaires but instead about the more than 140,000 Americans who earn more than $1.58 million per year. The researchers found that the typical rich American is, in their words, the owner of a “regional business,” such as an “auto dealer” or a “beverage distributor.”

这项研究说明的不是科技和销售界少数知名亿万富翁的情况,而是关于年收入超过158万美元的逾14万名美国人。研究人员发现,用他们的话说,典型的美国富人是“区域性企业”的所有者,比如“汽车经销商”或“饮品经销商”。

This shocked me. Over the past four years, in the course of doing research for a book about how insights buried in big data sets can help people make decisions, I read thousands of academic studies. It is rare that I read a sentence that changes how I view the world. This was one of them. I hadn’t thought of owning an auto dealership as a path to getting rich; I didn’t even know what a beverage distribution company was.

这让我很震惊。过去四年里,我在为一本关于隐藏在大数据集中的见解如何帮助人们做决定的书做研究,期间阅读了数千份学术研究,很少读到什么能让我改变世界观的内容,上面的结论这就是其中之一。我从未想过拥有一家汽车经销店是致富之路;我甚至不知道什么是饮品分销公司。

What are the lessons from the data on rich earners?

从关于富人的数据中我们可以学到什么?

First, rich people own. Among members of the top 0.1 percent, the researchers found, about three times as many make the majority of their income from owning a business as from being paid a wage. Salaries don’t make people rich nearly as often as equity does.

首先,富人拥有产权。研究人员发现,在收入最高的0.1%人群中,通过拥有企业获得大部分收入者的人数,是通过领取工资获得收入者的三倍左右。工资使人致富的效率远不及股权。

Second, rich people tend to own unsexy businesses. A different study, by the statisticians Tian Luo and Philip B. Stark, examined which businesses were most likely to fold fastest. The kind most likely to go out of business most quickly is a record store. The average record store lasts just 2.5 years. (For comparison, the average dentist’s office lasts more than 19.5 years.) Other businesses that fold quickly include toy stores (3.25 years), clothing stores (3.75 years) and cosmetics stores (4.0 years).

其次,富人拥有的往往是不那么风光的企业。另一项由统计学家罗田(音)和菲利普·斯塔克进行的研究调查了哪些企业最有可能最快倒闭。最容易倒闭的是唱片店,其平均寿命只有2.5年。(相比之下,牙医诊所的平均寿命超过19.5年。)。其他可能迅速倒闭的还包括玩具店(3.25年)、服装店(3.75年)、化妆品店(4.0年)。

There are, however, plenty of unsexy businesses from which a few people are getting rich. These include auto repair shops, gas stations and business equipment contractors.

而许多并不引人注目的行业却令少数人从中致富,包括汽车修理店、加油站和商务设备承包商。

The third important factor in gaining wealth is some way to avoid ruthless price competition, to build a local monopoly. The prevalence of owners of auto dealerships among the top 0.1 percent gives a clue to what it takes to get rich.

获得财富的第三个重要因素是设法避免无情的价格竞争,建立本地垄断。最富有的0.1%人群中,汽车经销商的比例很高,这给我们提供了致富的线索。

Comparing data from the appendix of the economists’ study with data from the SUSB Annual Data Tables put out by the Census Bureau, I estimate that more than 20 percent of auto dealerships in America have an owner making more than $1.58 million per year.

将经济学家研究附录中的数据与美国人口普查局发布的SUSB年度数据表中的数据进行比较后,我估计,美国有超过20%的汽车经销业老板年收入超过158万美元。

Auto dealerships have legal protections; state franchising laws often give auto dealers exclusive rights to sell cars in a territory. Same for many beverage distributors, which act as middlemen between alcohol companies and stores and supermarkets. Beverage distributors have long been protected by a system set up after prohibition that prevents beverage companies from distributing their products themselves.

汽车经销商有法律保护;州特许经营法通常赋予汽车经销商在某一地区销售汽车的独家权利。许多饮品经销商也是如此,他们在酒类公司、商店和超市之间充当中间人。饮品经销商长期以来一直被禁酒令后建立的制度保护着,该制度防止饮品公司自己经销其产品。

Of course, if upon learning this you try to buy someone’s auto dealership, you may not have much luck. Owners of auto dealerships know how good they have it.

当然,得知这一情况后,如果你想买下某人的汽车经销店,你的运气可能不会太好。汽车经销商知道自己有多赚钱。

Is there any business that tends to make people rich that you might have a better shot at?

你有机会从事什么能让人致富的事业吗?

My data-driven advice for getting rich for someone with good analytical skills and deep experience in a field is to start a market research business. Use your specialized knowledge in the field to write up reports; sell them widely and charge a fortune to your contacts in the field. I have estimated that more than 10 percent of owners of market research businesses are in the top 0.1 percent.

对于具有良好分析能力和某一领域深厚经验的人来说,我以数据为基础的致富建议是,创办一家市场研究公司。用你在这个领域的专业知识写报告;并且广泛销售这些报告,向你在该领域的联系人收取高额费用。据我估计,超过10%的市场研究企业所有者是前0.1%的富人。

If pop culture is right, getting rich is a path to happiness. Is that true? Does money actually make people happy?

在流行文化里,致富是通往幸福的道路。这是真的吗?钱真的能让人快乐吗?

Just as anonymous tax data, which has been made widely available to researchers only in the past few years, has led to credible research on what actually makes people rich, new sources of data in the past decade have given us many insights into what actually makes people happy.

匿名税收数据过去几年才被广泛提供给研究人员,这带来了究竟是什么因素让人富有的可靠研究,与此同时,对于究竟是什么因素让人快乐,过去10年的新数据来源也让我们对这个问题有了许多了解。

And money is not a reliable path to happiness. Matthew Killingsworth of the University of Pennsylvania has studied data from more than 30,000 adults, far larger than previous studies of money and happiness. He debunked a popular myth that there is no effect of money on happiness beyond $75,000 per year, but he did confirm a law of diminishing returns to money. In the end, Dr. Killingsworth found, the effects of money level off: You need to keep doubling your income to get the same happiness boost.

金钱并不是通往幸福的可靠途径。宾夕法尼亚大学的马修·基林斯沃斯研究了3万多名成年人的数据,规模远远大于此前对金钱与幸福关系的研究。他戳穿了一个流行的迷思,即年收入超过7.5万美元后,金钱对幸福就没有影响了,但他也确实证实了金钱回报递减的规律。最终,基林斯沃斯发现,金钱的影响曲线趋于平稳:你需要不断将收入翻倍,才能获得同样的幸福感提升。

A study of thousands of millionaires led by researchers at Harvard Business School did find a gain in happiness that kicks in when people’s net worth rises above $8 million. But the effect was small: A net worth of $8 million offers a boost of happiness that is roughly half as large as the happiness boost from being married.

哈佛商学院的研究人员对数千名百万富翁进行的研究发现,当净资产超过800万美元时,幸福感确实会增加。但影响很小:净资产800万美元带来的幸福感提升,大约是结婚后幸福感提升的一半。

What, in addition to being married, tends to make people happy?

除了结婚,还有什么能让人幸福?

The most important happiness study, in my opinion, is the Mappiness project, founded by the British economists Susana Mourato and George MacKerron. The researchers pinged tens of thousands of people on their smartphones and asked them simple questions: Who are they with? What are they doing? How happy are they?

在我看来,最重要的幸福研究是由英国经济学家苏珊娜·莫拉托和乔治·麦克卡伦创立的Mappiness项目。研究人员对上万人的智能手机发送信息,询问他们一些简单的问题:他们和谁在一起?他们在做什么?他们有多幸福?

From this, they built a sample of more than three million data points, orders of magnitude more than previous studies on happiness. So what do three million happiness data points tell us?

以此为基础,他们建立了一个包含300万个以上数据点的样本,比以往关于幸福的研究高出几个数量级。那么,300万个幸福数据点告诉我们什么呢?

The activities that make people happiest include sex, exercise and gardening. People get a big happiness boost from being with a romantic partner or friends but not from other people, like colleagues, children or acquaintances. Weather plays only a small role in happiness, except that people get a hearty mood boost on extraordinary days, such as those above 75 degrees and sunny. People are consistently happier when they are out in nature, particularly near a body of water, particularly when the scenery is beautiful.

让人们最快乐的活动包括性、锻炼和园艺。人们和恋人或朋友在一起时会获得很大的幸福感,而不是从同事、孩子或熟人等其他人那里。天气对幸福感的影响很小,除了一些特殊的日子,比如在阳光明媚、超过24摄氏度的日子,人们会心情格外舒畅。人们在大自然中总是更快乐,尤其是在水边,尤其是在风景优美的地方。

The findings on the data of happiness are, to be honest, obvious. When I told my friends about these studies, the most common response was, “Did we need scientists to tell us this?”

诚实地说,这些关于幸福的发现是很显而易见的。当我和朋友说起这些研究时,最常见的反应是,“这些还用得着科学家来告诉我们?”

But I would argue that there is profundity in the obviousness of the data on happiness.

但我想说的是,这些关于幸福的明显数据具有深刻的意义。

Sometimes, big data reveals a shocking secret. At other times, big data tells us that there is no secret. And that’s the case with happiness.

有些时候,大数据会揭示令人震惊的秘密。还有一些时候,大数据告诉我们根本就没有什么秘密。关于幸福就是这样。

This is crucial to keep in mind for the many of us who are not doing the obvious things that make people happy. We are falling for traps that the data says are unlikely to make us happy.

对于我们中的许多人来说,记住这一点很重要,我们没有做那些明显会让人快乐的事情。我们正陷入那些数据显示不太可能让我们快乐的东西。

Many of us work far too hard at jobs with people we don’t like — not a likely path to happiness. Dr. MacKerron and the economist Alex Bryson found that work is the second-most-miserable activity; of 40 activities, only being sick in bed makes people less happy than working. The economist Steven Levitt found that when people are uncertain whether to quit a job, they can be nudged to quit. And when they quit, they report increased happiness months later.

我们中的许多人在和他们不喜欢的人一起努力工作——这不太可能是通往幸福的道路。麦克罗恩博士和经济学家亚历克斯·布赖森现,工作是第二令人痛苦的活动;在40项活动中,只有生病卧床比工作更让人不快乐。经济学家史蒂文·莱维特发现,当人们不确定是否要辞职时,他们可以被怂恿着辞职。辞职几个月后,他们会报告说幸福感增加了。

Many of us move to big cities and spend little time in nature — also not a path to happiness. A study by the economists Ed Glaeser and Josh Gottlieb ranked the happiness of every American metropolitan area. They found that New York City was just about the least happy. Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco also scored low. The happiest places include Flagstaff, Ariz.; Naples, Fla., and pretty much all of Hawaii. And when people move out of unhappy cities to happy places, they report increased happiness.

我们中的许多人搬到了大城市,很少花时间身处大自然——这也不是通往幸福的道路。经济学家埃德·格莱泽和乔什·戈特利布的一项研究对每个美国大都市地区的幸福感进行了排名。他们发现纽约市是最不快乐的。波士顿、洛杉矶和旧金山的得分也很低。最快乐的地方包括亚利桑那州弗拉格斯塔夫;佛罗里达州那不勒斯,以及几乎整个夏威夷。并且,当人们从不幸福的城市搬到幸福的地方时,他们报告说幸福感增加了。

Many of us while away hours on social media — also not a path to happiness. The Mappiness project found that, of 27 leisure activities, social media ranks dead last in how much happiness it brings. A randomized controlled trial on the effects of social media found that when people were paid to stop using Facebook, they spent more time socializing and reported higher subjective well-being.

我们中的许多人在社交媒体上消磨时间——这也不是通往幸福的道路。Mappiness项目发现,在27种休闲活动中,社交媒体带来的快乐程度排在最后。一项关于社交媒体影响的随机对照试验发现,当人们有偿停止使用Facebook时,他们会花更多时间进行社交,并报告更高的主观幸福感。

Big data tells us there are very simple things that do make people happy, things that have been around for thousands of years. After reading all the studies on happiness, I concluded that modern happiness research could be summed up in one sentence, a sentence we might jokingly call the data-driven answer to life.

大数据告诉我们,有一些非常简单的事情确实能让人们感到幸福,这些事情已经存在了数千年。在阅读了所有关于幸福的研究后,我得出结论,现代幸福研究可以用一句话来概括,这句话我们可以开玩笑地称之为由数据驱动的人生答案。

The data-driven answer to life is as follows: Be with your love, on an 80-degree and sunny day, overlooking a beautiful body of water, having sex.

由数据驱动的人生答案是这样的:和你爱的人在一起,在一个26摄氏度的阳光明媚的日子里,俯瞰美丽的湖水,做爱。

It’s a lot easier than owning an auto dealership.

这比拥有一家汽车经销店要容易得多。
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