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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Aug 8;114(32):8523-8527. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1706541114. Epub 2017 Jul 24.

Buying time promotes happiness.

Author information

1
Harvard Business School, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02163; awhillans@hbs.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4.
3
Department of Finance, Maastricht University, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.
4
Center for Philanthropic Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5
Harvard Business School, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02163.

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.

KEYWORDS:

happiness; money; time; well-being

PMID:
28739889
PMCID:
PMC5559044
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1706541114
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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