Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Reason to Take More Vacation

People love looking forward to vacations, they don't like the vacation that much while they're on it, and then they love the memories. Most of the joy--the utility in econospeak--happens when you're not having the experience.
Vacation purchases jump around just the way you'd expect if they were a durable: People spend a lot less on them during recessions, about 15% less in the Great Recession.
Read it at The Atlantic
Memory As A Consumer Durable
By Garrett Jones

As someone who values vacations (largely because of the memories) significantly more than most durable goods, I was drawn in by the quote above. Having just attended my 5 year reunion at Washington University in St. Louis, the emotions of being excited leading up to the vacation and sentimental looking back are very present (I enjoyed the vacation too). These feelings also played a meaningful role in boosting my spirits after losing a job during the last recession. Equally persuaded by much of the work in psychology, I think Jones hits on an important point in recognizing the frequent undervaluation of experiences and memories.

During periods of economic stress, vacations can play an important role in countering negative emotions. By being conscious of the durability of memories, hopefully people will be less apt to forgo taking trips. The result could be a significant boost to the stability of happiness.   

No comments:

Post a Comment