Articles

Aknin, L. B., Dunn, Sandstrom, G. M., & Norton, M. I. Does social connection turn good deeds into good feelings? On the value of putting the “social” into prosocial spending

The present research provides the first evidence that temporarily giving up something pleasurable may provide an effective route to happiness. Participants were asked to eat a piece of chocolate during two lab sessions, held one week apart. During the intervening week, we randomly assigned them to abstain from chocolate or to eat as much of it as possible, while a control group received no special instructions related to their chocolate consumption. At the second lab session, participants who ...

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Elizabeth W. Dunn, Daniel T. Gilbert, Timothy D. Wilson. If money doesn't make you happy, then you probably aren't spending it right.

The relationship between money and happiness is surprisingly weak, which may stem in part from the way people spend it. Drawing on empirical research, we propose eight principles designed to help consumers get more happiness for their money. Specifically, we suggest that consumers should (1) buy more experiences and fewer material goods; (2) use their money to benefit others rather than themselves; (3) buy many small pleasures rather than fewer large ones; (4) eschew extended warranties and othe...

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Kathleen D. Vohs, Roy F. Baumeister. What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money.

Our response to their piece is to question the question that they are asking. Taking a wider perspective, one might ask why anyone would expect that money would lead to happiness? Dunn et al. offer only a small comment on this, which is to say that money should bring happiness because they say that it allows people to “do what they please” (p. 2). But being able to do what one pleases is not really what money does for people. People who are wealthy have jobs to uphold (at least most of th...

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Lasse Steiner, Bruno S. Frey, Simone Hotz. European capitals of culture and life satisfaction.

This paper analyzes whether hosting the most prestigious European cultural event, the European Capital of Culture, has an impact on regional economic development or the life satisfaction of the local population. Concerning the economic impact, we show that European Capitals are hosted in regions with above average GDP per capita, but do not causally affect the economic development in a significant way. Even a positive impact on GDP per capita would not imply a positive impact on individual uti...

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Katarina Kuss, Armin Falk, Peter Trautner, Christian E. Elger, Bernd Weber, Klaus Fliessbach. A reward prediction error for charitable donations reveals outcome orientation of donators.

The motives underlying prosocial behavior, like charitable donations, can be related either to actions or to outcomes. To address the neural basis of outcome orientation in charitable giving, we asked 33 subjects to make choices affecting their own payoffs and payoffs to a charity organization, while being scanned by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We experimentally induced a reward prediction error (RPE) by subsequently discarding some of the chosen outcomes. Co-localized to a nuc...

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Steffen Altmann, Thomas Dohmen, Matthias Wibral. Do the reciprocal trust less?

By now there seems to be broad agreement that trust and reciprocity are conducive to economic performance and efficiency (e.g., Knack and Keefer, 1997). Mutual trust between trading parties facilitates the realization of gains from trade, for instance by reducing contracting costs. Reciprocity can also enhance performance in many areas of economic life, for example by mitigating moral hazard problems (Fehr et al.,1997). In order to better understand the economic implications of reciprocity, seve...

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