UMiami Study: Happier States Are Better Suited for Economic Recovery

Florida's economic condition might improve faster if we all put on a smile. Sure, our current economy may not give us much to be cheery about, but if we grin and bear it, things might get better, according to a new study from the University of Miami School of Business Administration. This means our mood can affect the economy, and not the other way around, and one portion of the study found that sports success actually helps. So come on, LeBron, you better win that championship. Our economy could depend on it.

"Previous studies have shown that economic conditions affect mood; people would expect this, it's more obvious," Alok Kumar, a finance professor at the UnM School of Business, said in the study. "Our study is unique in that it shows, for the first time, that mood and optimism can directly affect overall economic activity."

The study measured three areas to gauge optimism:

  • Weather: Average temperature and cloud cover.

    Sunny weather triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, which causes people to be more alert and cheerful. The opposite is true for bad weather because it releases melatonin, which makes people feel tired and down.

  • Political affiliation and climate:

    The level of optimism is greater in a region where the local population favors the political parties in power.

  • Sports-related optimism:

    People are likely to be more optimistic if their local sports teams have performed well (e.g., win the Super Bowl or World Series).

Miami has the weather on lock (at least most of the year), and the Heat can bring us that sports glory. But that political factor might doom us. We just recalled our mayor, and everyone hates our governor.

Better moods, however, can "make the impact of a recession weaker, shorter in length, and easier to get over" and also lead to better retail sales, according to the study.

So c'mon, get happy:

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