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The FREAKest Links: Happiness, Gaming, and Congestion Edition

We’ve written quite a bit about the science of happiness. Now a study by Nattavudh Powdthavee, a research officer at the University of London’s Institute of Education, has taken the debate a step further, assigning monetary values to intangibles like good health and better relationships. He argues that more time with loved ones merits a $179,000 happiness-equivalent raise, while marriage (which Dubner has wondered about) brings in another $105,000.

In addition to Levitt’s economic argument for Chinese gold farming, there is now evidence that online gaming may actually help your career. A study by IBM found that playing computer games can “help you become a better corporate leader by fostering skills related to collaboration, self-organization, risk-taking, openness, influence, and communications.” (Do consider, please, that this pro-computer-game study was conducted by a computer manufacturer.)

More support for Levitt’s gas tax: A study by transportation research group TRIP found that congestion on a stretch of I-95 in Delaware is costing commuters a total of 59 hours, 36 gallons of gas, and thus approximately $1,015 a year.