HAPPINESS AND CONSUMPTION: A Research Synthesis Using an Online Findings Archive

Ruut Veenhoven, Felicia Chiperi, Xin Kang and Martijn Burger Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, Erasmus happiness Economics research Organization
Sage Open, 2021, vol 11 (1) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244020986239

There is a considerable amount of research on the effect of income on happiness, but only a limited number of studies has considered how the spending of income works out on one’s happiness. In this article, we take stock of the scattered findings on the relation between consumption and happiness. We cover 379 research findings observed in 99 empirical studies. We use a new method of research synthesis, in which research findings are first described in a comparable format and then entered in an online ‘findings archive’ (World Database of Happiness). This technique allows a condensed presentation of the many research findings, while providing readers access to the full results through hyperlinks from the text. Our systematic review reveals some unexpected findings but does not provide a conclusive answer to the question of what patterns of consumption provide the most happiness for what type of people. Suggestions for further research are provided.

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