Warmth, Wealth, and Wellbeing

Christopher Hsee, University of Chicago
A fundamental question in happiness research is whether improving every citizen’s wealth in a given society increases the overall happiness of the society. We distinguish between type A and type B outcomes. Type A outcomes, such as temperature, directly affect one’s visceral/biological system and are inherently evaluable; type B outcomes, such as jewelry, do not directly affect one’s visceral/biological system and are inherently inevaluable. Lab and field studies suggest that whether increasing a society’s wealth increases the society’s happiness depends on where the wealth is spent: Spending wealth on improving Type A outcomes does increase the overall happiness of the society, but spending wealth on improving Type B outcomes does not.
[ to cite ]:
Christopher Hsee (2008) ,"Warmth, Wealth, and Wellbeing", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 72-75.