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Reference group consumption and the subjective wellbeing of the poor in Peru

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  • Guillen-Royo, Monica
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    Abstract

    This paper studies the relationship between the consumption of the reference group and people's subjective wellbeing in seven poor Peruvian communities. It presents an empirical analysis of the importance of relative consumption for people's feelings of adequacy in five consumption domains (food, housing, education, clothes and health care). Against the assumption that relative consumption only matters for the rich and drawing on recent empirical work in Latin America, the study hypothesises that participants are likely to be influenced by the level of consumption of the area where they live when evaluating their situation. The data come from two surveys implemented in 2004 and 2005 in Peru by the Wellbeing in Developing Countries (WeD), ESRC research group at the University of Bath. The results indicate a negative effect of relative consumption on participants' appraisal of their households' clothes, housing and children's education. However, the study also shows that in domains linked to the need for physical health such as health care and food, appraisals are made based on households' objective situations and that the average consumption in the community does not play a significant role.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

    Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 259-272

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:2:p:259-272

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

    Related research

    Keywords: Subjective wellbeing Relative consumption Poverty Consumption Consumer psychology;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Inga Hillesheim & Mario Mechtel, 2012. "How Much Do Others Matter? Explaining Positional Concerns for Different Goods and Personal Characteristics," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201210, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    2. Monica Guillen-Royo & Laura Camfield & Jackeline Velazco, 2013. "Universal and Local Reconciled: Exploring Satisfaction with Universal and Local Goals in Thailand and Bangladesh," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(2), pages 627-645, September.
    3. Hillesheim, Inga & Mechtel, Mario, 2013. "How much do others matter? Explaining positional concerns for different goods and personal characteristics," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 61-77.
    4. Asadullah, Niaz & Chaudhury, Nazmul, 2012. "Subjective Well-Being and Relative Poverty in Rural Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 6569, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Alem, Yonas, 2014. "Life-Satisfaction in Urban Ethiopia: The Role of Relative Poverty and Unobserved Heterogeneity," Discussion Papers dp-14-04-efd, Resources For the Future.
    6. Laura Camfield & Awae Masae & J. McGregor & Buapun Promphaking, 2013. "Cultures of Aspiration and Poverty? Aspirational Inequalities in Northeast and Southern Thailand," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 1049-1072, December.
    7. Alem, Yonas, 2013. "Relative Standing and Life-Satisfaction: Does Unobserved Heterogeneity Matter?," Working Papers in Economics 579, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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