August 29th, 2011
People who spend a lot of their day commuting, especially by car in traffic, are less happy. By itself, this is not surprising: everyone knows commuting sucks. What is surprising is that people don't treat it as a big enough downside when considering potential houses or jobs. This is known as the "Commuter's Paradox", and I just read a (kind of technical) economics paper on it (via lesswrong).

If I'm looking at a decision where I'm weighing more or less commuting against something else, how can I do better at predicting which will make me happier? I can remind myself that "enjoyment of a large house fades but the pain of a bad commute wears you down every day," but I'm not sure that's enough. Thoughts? How can we spend less of our time on the least pleasant daily activity?

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