[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research on income and subjective well-being shows that among the non-poor, increased income has little or no lasting impact on happiness. Yet the desire for more income remains a powerful motive among many people at all income levels. Is this simply because many people are misinformed and believe that higher incomes will make them happier, or are they motivated by something other than the pursuit of happiness? This paper argues for the latter. The paper begins by exploring this question, reviewing the literature on income and subjective well-being, and discussing of the role of utility in decision making. This paper then argues that three main factors lead us to value increased income even if it does not make us happier. First, happiness is just one value among many, and not the only conscious goal people set for themselves. Second, even when people are striving to maximize happiness, our tendency to overweight short-term payoffs leads us to overvalue the short-term rewards that income provides. Finally, I argue that our values-based decision making competes with other motivational systems and evolutionary drives. Three evolutionary desires are discussed: (1) to store resources, (2) to be sexually attractive, and (3) to manage our social relationships and our personal identity within those relationships. While all three motivations play a role in our desire for increased income, this paper argues that it is the third - the use of money and consumption as a social tool - that has the most important overall influence on our desire for increased income past the point where it ceases to increase personal happiness.
Journal of Economic Psychology 01/2008; 29(4):491-507. · 1.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Time orientation, as a psychological determinant of sustainable behavior, is addressed in this paper. One hundred and seventy-seven individuals in two Mexican cities responded to a questionnaire investigating future orientation (i.e. the tendency of some people to establish and achieve goals and to plan strategies for meeting long-term obligations) and sustainable behavior, indicated by the self-report of water conservation practices. The relationship between these two factors was estimated within a structural equation model (SEM), which revealed that future orientation significantly and positively affects sustainable behavior. Between-group contrasts have not revealed significant differences in future orientation and water conservation given by economic income, gender and educational level. However, younger individuals (
European Review of Applied Psychology-revue Europeenne De Psychologie Appliquee - EUR REV APPL PSYCHOL. 01/2006; 56(3):191-198.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although pro-environmental behaviour is often believed to be difficult, aggravating, and potentially threatening one’s quality of life, recent studies suggest that people who behave in a more pro-environmental way are actually more satisfied with their lives. In this manuscript, we aim to explain this apparent paradox by reviewing theoretical arguments and empirical evidence for both sides of the coin: why would acting pro-environmentally decrease one’s well-being, and why would it increase one’s well-being? We conclude that part of the answer lies in a different view on what well-being entails, and more specifically, whether the focus is on hedonic well-being (i.e., feeling pleasure) or eudaimonic well-being (i.e., feeling meaningful).
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