My Car is Bigger than Yours: Consumption, Status Competition, and Happiness in Times of Affluence

  • Hilke BrockmannEmail author
  • Song Yan
Part of the Happiness Studies Book Series book series (HAPS)


Does consumption make people happy? The standard answer from economics is: Yes! By assumption, consumers consume because that increases their utility. However, empirical studies of US consumer behavior reveal striking trends in conspicuous and harmful consumption. New findings in happiness research explain when consumption makes people unhappy and why unhappy consumers cannot easily stop their malconsumption. Researchers also identify escape routes both at the individual and the societal level. The chapter concludes with a discussion of institutional implications.


Life Satisfaction Social Comparison Relative Income World Value Survey Luxury Good 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social SciencesJacobs University BremenBremenGermany

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