Consumption and subjective wellbeing: exploring basic needs, social comparison, social integration and hedonism in Peru

M. Guillen-Royo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Within material poverty contexts, consumption and subjective wellbeing are positively and strongly related. This is usually explained in terms of the increased possibilities to satisfy basic needs that additional spending provides. Other important aspects of consumption, such as its relative, symbolic and hedonic dimensions are not generally considered. The current study explores these aspects in seven poor Peruvian communities through expenditure and motives using regression analysis. Motives for consumption are included in the model drawing on psychologists' research into the importance of accounting for motives when assessing the impact of material goals on subjective wellbeing. Results reveal that in the Peruvian corridor, consumption has a meaning beyond mere basic needs satisfaction. Status concerns, the reference group, the pleasure of consuming, providing for the household basics and the expectation of escaping social marginalisation are aspects of consumption significantly predicting people's happiness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-555
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Volume89
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Expenditure
  • Subjective wellbeing (SWB)
  • Basic needs
  • Consumption
  • Social integration
  • Peru
  • Motives
  • Happiness

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