Dr. Elizabeth Dunn

Does money make you happier? It depends on how you spend it!

Author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending

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Dr. Elizabeth Dunn | Author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Can money buy happiness? Dr. Elizabeth Dunn thinks it can. The problem isn’t that we don't have enough money—it’s that we tend to spend it on things that don't contribute to happiness. Dunn’s much-cited happiness research, especially as it relates to spending habits, is highly sought after by individuals, employers, and corporations genuinely interested in understanding what makes people happy. 

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 was selected as a Chronicle of Higher Education “Rising Star” in academia.


“It was a pleasure to have Elizabeth speak to our conference attendees. She was funny, extremely engaging and had obviously done a lot of work to ensure the topics covered in her session were relevant to our credit union industry.”

Central 1 Credit Union

Speech Topics

Happy Money The Science of Smarter Spending

Can money buy happiness? Dr. Elizabeth Dunn thinks it can—if we’re spending it properly. At the forefront of happiness research—a burgeoning topic for corporations and individuals alike—Dunn  helps you apply practical research in order to use your money in ways that make you, your employees, and your customers happier, no matter how much or how little cash you have. In this fascinating talk, Dr. Elizabeth Dunn offers her five principles to spending money in ways that directly increase happiness—or, “Happy Money.” Money is better spent buying time and experiences, not things, and even changing how you spend just five dollars a day can have a profound effect on how you feel. Using groundbreaking research, Dunn shows us why we place too much emphasis on buying things that provide temporary happiness, and she ultimately shows us how we can change.

Behavioural Economics
Happy Customers Creating a Better Consumer Experience

Is it possible to give happiness to your customers? What makes a shopping experience worthwhile for all involved? How do the designs of consumer products, environments, and employee behaviors, affect how customers feel? These are questions companies have wrestled with for years. In this talk, Elizabeth Dunn cuts through conjecture and pseudo-science to reveal a stunningly original portrait of what consumers really respond to—what, in essence, makes them happy. Drawing on new research and examples from companies who do it right, Dunn unravels the complex relationship between consumers and their money, and shows us why they buy things, and how you can implement this knowledge to create a vastly superior experience for current and, especially, new customers.

Corporate Culture
Happy Employees Increasing Your Workplace Productivity
What makes for a happy employee? It’s probably not what you think. Companies are constantly looking for ways to improve productivity, boost morale, and help the bottom line. Dr. Dunn says these goals can be achieved by re-thinking how companies harness their financial resources to promote employees’ happiness. Without raising salaries, offering promotions, or fundamentally changing the nature of anyone’s job, you can invigorate your workplace with new life. Dunn points to her much-cited original research, offers striking examples from Fortune 500 companies, and pinpoints the small—and big—things that will create lasting, authentic, and sustainable happiness among employees. Drawing on her five principles of “Happy Money,” Dunn delivers incredible insight into how to permeate your entire office culture with that singular, empowering feeling: happiness.