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Feeling Wealthy, Spending Less: The Interplay of Subjective and Objective Wealth on Consumption

A Marketing, Business & Society seminar with Dr Joe Gladstone from University College London.

  • 2 Dec 2019, 11.30am to 2 Dec 2019, 12.45pm GMT
  • 3.22, 8 West, University of Bath
  • This event is free

Consumers vary in their subjective perceptions of their wealth; some people feel rich, while others feel poor. In this research, Dr Gladstone examines how these differences in consumers’ subjective perceptions of wealth influence their spending. In particular, this talk aims to understand the influence of subjective wealth on consumption across the spectrum of objective wealth. Through two field studies (analyzing transaction data from a money management app and a large U.K. retail bank), two large-scale longitudinal national surveys (samples from the United States and Kenya), and one lab experiment manipulating subjective wealth, this seminar will demonstrate that objective wealth and subjective wealth interact in predicting consumer spending. Specifically, objectively wealthy consumers spend relatively less as they feel subjectively richer, while objectively poor consumers spend relatively more as they feel subjectively richer. These effects hold for both total spending and spending on high-status goods. Moreover, at high levels of objective wealth, reduced consumption among those who feel subjectively wealthy is driven, at least in part, by lower susceptibility to interpersonal influence.

About the speaker

  • When does money buy happiness?
  • Can you infer customers’ personality traits from how they spend money?
  • How do couples’ spending choices change when they pool their finances?
  • Who are the Scrooges? How does personality affect Christmas spending?
  • What are the consequences of “financial infidelity”—couples hiding financial behaviours?

These are the kinds of questions that keep Joe Gladstone up at night. Joe is one of the top young researchers in consumer financial decision-making, studying how finances are shaped by our personality and how financial decisions affect our well-being.


Dr Joe Gladstone is an Assistant Professor of Consumer Behaviour at University College London.


This event will take place on campus.

3.22 8 West University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom

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