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Social Comparison And Subjective Well-Being: Does The Health Of Others Matter?

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  • Vincenzo Carrieri

    ()
    (Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica, Università della Calabria)

Abstract

The importance of social comparison in shaping individual utility has been widely documented by subjective well-being literature. So far, income has been the main dimension considered in social comparison. This paper aims to investigate whether subjective well-being is influenced by inter-personal comparison with respect to health. Thus, we study the effects of the health of others and relative health hypothesis on two measures of subjective well-being: happiness and subjective health. Using data from the Italian Health Conditions survey, we show that a high incidence of chronic conditions and disability among reference groups negatively affects both happiness and subjective health. Such effects are stronger among people in the same conditions. These results, robust to different econometric specifications and estimation techniques, suggest the presence of some sympathy in individual preferences with respect to health and reveal that other people?s health status serves as a benchmark to assess one?s own health conditions.

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File URL: http://www.ecostat.unical.it/RePEc/WorkingPapers/WP14_2010.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010-07
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Paper provided by Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica) in its series Working Papers with number 201014.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clb:wpaper:201014

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Postal: Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza, Ponte Pietro Bucci, Cubo 0/C, I-87036 Arcavacata di Rende, CS, Italy
Phone: +39 0984 492413
Fax: +39 0984 492421
Web page: http://www.unical.it/portale/strutture/dipartimenti_240/disesf/
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Keywords: health conditions; social comparison; subjective well-being;

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  1. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Eddy van Doorslaer & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O'Donnell & Somnath Chatterji, 2006. "Does Reporting Heterogeneity bias the Measurement of Health Disparities?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-033/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Eddy van Doorslaer & Xander Koolman, 2004. "Explaining the differences in income-related health inequalities across European countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 609-628.
  3. Luiz de Mello & Erwin R. Tiongson, 2009. "What Is the Value of (My and My Family's) Good Health?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 594-610, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Vincenzo Carrieri & Maria De Paola, 2011. "The Effects Of Peoples’ Height And Relative Height On Well-Being," Working Papers 201110, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).
  2. Carrieri, Vincenzo & De Paola, Maria, 2012. "Height and subjective well-being in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 289-298.

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