How Do Financial Constraints Affect Creativity?

Scopelliti, Irene; Cillo, Paola; Busacca, Bruno Giuseppe; Mazursky, David

This research analyzes the effects of financial constraints and of their interaction with individual novelty-seeking traits on creativity in problem-solving. Results of four experimental studies suggest that constrained financial resources may be beneficial to creativity. Specifically, results suggest that financial constraints lead to the ideation of more creative products, even though these products make use of fewer inputs and of a lower budget. Furthermore, while yielding outcomes as creative as input constraints, they use fewer resources and activate a top down rather than a bottom up processing strategy. In addition, results show that the effect of financial constraints is stronger for individuals with inherent tendencies toward novelty seeking, and that such effect holds not only for ideation tasks, but also when the problem space is already constrained in nature, as in the case of repairing a product.