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Economic Satisfaction and Income Rank in Small Neighbourhoods

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  • Andrew E. Clark
  • Nicolai Kristensen
  • Niels Westergård-Nielsen

Abstract

We contribute to the literature on well-being and comparisons by appealing to new Danish data dividing the country up into around 9,000 small neighbourhoods. Administrative data provides us with the income of every person in each of these neighbourhoods. This income information is matched to demographic and economic satisfaction variables from eight years of Danish ECHP data. Panel regression analysis shows that, conditional on own household income, respondents report higher satisfaction levels when their neighbours are richer. However, individuals are rank-sensitive: Conditional on one's own income and neighbourhood median income, respondents are more satisfied as their percentile neighbourhood ranking improves. A ten percentage point rise in rank (i.e., from 40th to 20th position in a 200-household cell) is worth 0.11 on a 1-6 scale, which is a large marginal effect in satisfaction terms. (JEL: C23, C25, D84, J28, J31) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 519-527

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:519-527

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  1. Anne Bolster & Simon Burgess & Ron Johnston & Kelvyn Jones & Carol Propper & Rebecca Sarker, 2007. "Neighbourhoods, households and income dynamics: a semi-parametric investigation of neighbourhood effects," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, January.
  2. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society," Development and Comp Systems 0409067, EconWPA.
  3. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  4. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang, 2010. "How’s the Job? Well-Being and Social Capital in the Workplace," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 205-227, January.
  6. Anna Piil Damm & Marie Louise Schultz-Nielsen, 2008. "The Construction of Neighbourhoods and its Relevance for the Measurement of Social and Ethnic Segregation: Evidence from Denmark," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0810, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  7. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  8. Brown, Gordon D. A. & Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J. & Qian, Jing, 2005. "Does Wage Rank Affect Employees' Wellbeing?," IZA Discussion Papers 1505, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
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