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Luxury Fever:
Weighing the Cost of Excess
Robert H. Frank

Paperback | 2010 | $18.95 | £14.95 | ISBN: 9780691146935
336 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
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The turn of the twenty-first century witnessed a spectacular rise in gross consumption. With the super-rich setting the pace, everyone spent furiously in a desperate attempt to keep up. As cars and houses grew larger and more expensive, the costs were enormous--not only monetarily but also socially. Consumers spent more time at work and less time with their family and friends; they saved less money and borrowed more.

In this book, Robert Frank presents the first comprehensive and accessible account of these financial choices. Frank uses scientific evidence to demonstrate how these spending patterns have not made us happier or healthier. Luxury Fever offers an exit from the rat race, suggesting ways to curb the culture of excess and restore true value to our lives.


"Luxury Fever is an important book. . . . It's admirable that an economist makes use of the research of behavioral biologists and evolutionary psychologists to explain why consumers spend as they do."--USA Today

"Frank's analysis should be just as interesting to those who do not share his political position as to those who do."--Samuel Brittan, Times Literary Supplement

"One does not have to be the kind of person who complains about fat-cat City salaries to wonder whether certain wealthy people are not, on the one hand, rich beyond utility, and spending their money on things that no sane consumer needs, on the other. Robert Frank's thoughtful study of conspicuous consumption . . . has a dreadful fascination."--Sunday Times (London)

"The shop-till-you-drop, 'retail therapy' culture may have become more dominant in the last few years. . . . But are we really any happier for it? One person who thinks we are not is Robert Frank . . . whose new book, Luxury Fever, has been causing a bit of a stir. . . . The burst of consumerism in the U.S. . . . gives a new bite to these well-rehearsed concerns."--The Independent (London)

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
1. Money Well Spent? 1
2. The Luxury Spending Boom 14
3. Why Now? 3
4. The Price of Luxury 45
5. Does Money Buy Happiness? 6
6. Gains That Endure 7
7. Our Forgotten Future 94
8. Excellent, Relatively Speaking 107
9. Why Context and Position Are So Important 122
10. Smart for One, Dumb for All 146
11. Understanding Conspicuous Consumption 15
12. Self Help? 17
13. Other Failed Remedies 19
14. Luxury Without Apology 20
15. Equity Versus Efficiency: The Great Trade-Off? 227
16. We Can't Afford It? 25
17. Cash on the Table 266
Endnotes 281
References 295
Index 317

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Robert H. Frank:

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Hardcover published in 1999 by the Free Press

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File created: 7/11/2017

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