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Elizabeth Dunn

Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

web: Co-Author of 'Happy Money'

Dr. Elizabeth Dunn is the author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, co-authored with Mike Norton at Harvard Business School. Dunn is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where she conducts original research on self-knowledge and happiness. Her work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, and The London Times, and has even been cited in policy papers by David Cameron’s administration in the UK. Two empirical papers were recently published in Science. Dunn has spoken at PopTech! and TEDx, and was selected as a Chronicle of Higher Education “Rising Star” in academia.

Q) Please discuss the interesting findings from your research

Dr. Dunn> We find that when people spend money on others, they report to be happier than spending money on themselves. Our research shows this pattern in countries around the world, even in places like South Africa and Uganda where our participants report difficulty in meeting there own basic needs.

Q.)How is your research related to the book you co-wrote titled “Happy Money”?

Dr. Dunn> In the book Happy Money we discuss this research showing people are happier spending money on themselves. We also discuss practical ways people can get more happiness out of their money.

Q.)What are the important issues in judgment and decision making according to you?

Dr. Dunn> There are a lot of important issues in any field. To me, a really important issue is how people make decisions and tradeoffs between time and money, which are the two fundamental resources we have in life. How we deploy these resources is really important and how we outsource them. For example, whether it is worth spending a lot of time to save some amount of money. This I think is very important but largely unexplored.  And how much the scarcity of these resources contribute to happiness.

Q.)What would be your message to invite the younger minds to decision sciences?

Dr. Dunn> My message would be don’t go and read the journals and find that small little piece which has not been explored. Instead look at the questions real questions people grapple with in a normal day. Then use the tools of science to find the answers to those questions.

(As sent to Sumitava Mukherjee, March 2014)

Enjoy the book co-authored by Prof. Elizabeth Dunn.

 happy money cover

A nice talk by Dr. Dunn: