Who says the best things in life can't be measured?

A pair of economists have set out to tote up - that's right, in numbers - the value of a happy marriage. Their conclusion? It's worth about the same as $100,000 a year is worth on the personal happiness scale.Now you might think that everyone's happiness scale is different, and that in any case it would be hard to express happiness in monetary terms. But the two new-age economists had other ideas.

According to a report on the BBC, Prof. Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England and Prof. David Blanchflower of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire developed a mathematical formula that takes into account respondents' income, personal traits and happiness levels.

After surveying 100,000 Americans and Britons, they concluded that the most miserable of the lot were the separated, widowed or divorced, who were much further down in the dumps than those who had merely lost their jobs.

They then asked respondents to measure the transcendental joys of a good marriage against the more worldly cheer derived from a raise in pay - and found the love-vs.-money equilibrium point, so to speak, is 100 grand a year.

Perhaps, as the saying goes, money can't buy you love. But these two good professors may have found a way to achieve the reverse.