Buying time promotes happiness

Ashley Whillans, Elizabeth Dunn, Paul M. Smeets, R.H.F.P. Bekkers, M.I. Norton

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Around the world, increases in wealth have produced an unintended consequence: a rising sense of time scarcity. We provide evidence that using money to buy time can provide a buffer against this time famine, thereby promoting happiness. Using large, diverse samples from the United States, Canada, Denmark, and The Netherlands (n = 6,271), we show that individuals who spend money on time-saving services report greater life satisfaction. A field experiment provides causal evidence that working adults report greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase. Together, these results suggest that using money to buy time can protect people from the detrimental effects of time pressure on life satisfaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8523-8527
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number32
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2017

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Happiness
Life satisfaction
Purchase
Time pressure
Denmark
Scarcity
Unintended consequences
Buffer
Famine
Canada
The Netherlands
Field experiment
Wealth

Cite this

Whillans, Ashley ; Dunn, Elizabeth ; Smeets, Paul M. ; Bekkers, R.H.F.P. ; Norton, M.I. / Buying time promotes happiness. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 ; Vol. 114, No. 32. pp. 8523-8527.
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Buying time promotes happiness. / Whillans, Ashley; Dunn, Elizabeth; Smeets, Paul M.; Bekkers, R.H.F.P.; Norton, M.I.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 114, No. 32, 08.08.2017, p. 8523-8527.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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