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The material and immaterial in conflict: Spirituality reduces conspicuous consumption

Author

Listed:
  • Stillman, Tyler F.
  • Fincham, Frank D.
  • Vohs, Kathleen D.
  • Lambert, Nathaniel M.
  • Phillips, Christa A.

Abstract

Many spiritual leaders have argued that materialistic pursuits are incompatible with following a spiritual life. Consistent with this view, we found that higher levels of spirituality correspond to a decreased desire to consume material goods in a conspicuous manner. Study 1 was correlational, and found that people who reported having spiritual experiences reported a decreased desire to spend lavishly for visible consumer goods, such as a cell phone. Study 2 was experimental, and found that participants assigned to recall a spiritual event also demonstrated a decreased desire to consume conspicuously, relative to participants assigned to recall an enjoyable event.

Suggested Citation

  • Stillman, Tyler F. & Fincham, Frank D. & Vohs, Kathleen D. & Lambert, Nathaniel M. & Phillips, Christa A., 2012. "The material and immaterial in conflict: Spirituality reduces conspicuous consumption," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-7.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:1-7
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.08.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Nikolai Roussanov, 2009. "Conspicuous Consumption and Race," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 425-467.
    2. Wilfred Amaldoss & Sanjay Jain, 2005. "Conspicuous Consumption and Sophisticated Thinking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(10), pages 1449-1466, October.
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    5. Davies, Emma & Lea, Stephen E. G., 1995. "Student attitudes to student debt," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 663-679, December.
    6. Kilbourne, William & Grünhagen, Marko & Foley, Janice, 2005. "A cross-cultural examination of the relationship between materialism and individual values," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 624-641, October.
    7. Wendy Wan & Chung-Leung Luk & Oliver Yau & Alan Tse & Leo Sin & Kenneth Kwong & Raymond Chow, 2009. "Do Traditional Chinese Cultural Values Nourish a Market for Pirated CDs?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 185-196, April.
    8. Burroughs, James E & Rindfleisch, Aric, 2002. " Materialism and Well-Being: A Conflicting Values Perspective," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 348-370, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guven, Cahit, 2012. "Reversing the question: Does happiness affect consumption and savings behavior?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 701-717.
    2. repec:eur:ejesjr:234 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Yulei Rao & Lixing Mei & Rui Zhu, 2016. "Happiness and Stock-Market Participation: Empirical Evidence from China," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 271-293, February.
    4. Holger Strulik, 2016. "Secularization And Long-Run Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(1), pages 177-200, January.
    5. Strulik, Holger, 2016. "An economic theory of religious belief," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 35-46.
    6. Yulei Rao & Lixing Mei & Rui Zhu, 2016. "Happiness and Stock-Market Participation: Empirical Evidence from China," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 271-293, February.
    7. repec:eee:touman:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:147-158 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Spirituality; Religion; Materialism; Conspicuous consumption; Spending;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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