Is Materialism All That Bad? Effects on Satisfaction with Material Life, Life Satisfaction, and Economic Motivation

Date
2013
Authors
Joseph Sirgy, M.
Gurel-Atay, E.
Webb, D.
Cicic, M.
Husic-Mehmedovic, M.
Ekici, A.
Herrmann, A.
Hegazy I.
Lee, D.-J.
Johar J.S.
Advisor
Supervisor
Co-Advisor
Co-Supervisor
Instructor
Source Title
Social Indicators Research
Print ISSN
0303-8300
Electronic ISSN
Publisher
Volume
110
Issue
1
Pages
349 - 366
Language
English
Type
Article
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Series
Abstract

The literature in economic psychology and quality-of-life studies alludes to a negative relationship between materialism and life satisfaction. In contrast, the macroeconomic literature implies a positive relationship between material consumption and economic growth. That is, materialism may be both good and bad. We develop a model that reconciles these two contrasting viewpoints by asserting that materialism may lead to life dissatisfaction when materialistic people evaluate their standard of living using fantasy-based expectations (e. g., ideal expectations), which increases the likelihood that they would evaluate their standard of living negatively. In turn, dissatisfaction with standard of living increases the likelihood that they would evaluate their life negatively. However, materialistic people who evaluate their standard of living using reality-based expectations (e. g., ability expectations) are likely to feel more economically motivated than their non-materialistic counterparts, and this economic motivation is likely to contribute significantly and positively to life satisfaction. Survey data were collected from seven major cities each in a different country (Australia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Germany, Egypt, Korea, Turkey, and the USA) using a probability sample (cluster sampling method involving income stratification). The results provide support for the model. The economic public policy implications concerning how people evaluate their standard of living using ability-based expectations are discussed in the context of the ideals of meritocracy. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Course
Other identifiers
Book Title
Keywords
Economic motivation, Evaluation of standard of living, Life satisfaction, Materialism, Meritocracy, Quality of life, Satisfaction with material life, economic growth, economic policy, living standard, macroeconomics, psychology, quality of life, socioeconomic indicator
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)