Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Relativizing relative income


Author Info

  • Claudia Senik


Using over one million observations, from 6 Transition countries and 14 "old" European countries, we show that, in stable EU economies, other people's income affects my utility directly, through comparison effects, whereas in more volatile Transition economies it affects me indirectly, in a cognitive manner. Empirically, using mostly panel data, we show that the average income in one's professional group affects individual subjective well-being negatively in EU countries, whereas the correlation is positive in Transition economies. In Poland, for which we have particularly long panel data, the relative importance of these effects is reversed with the beginning of transition: comparison effects dominate until 1989 whereas information effects are predominant from 1990 onwards. This divergent attitude towards other people's income is potentially important at a time of ongoing European enlargement. More generally, the results lead to a relativization of the relative income hypothesis, which is at the heart of certain critical views of growth policies.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify ()
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) in its series DELTA Working Papers with number 2004-17.

as in new window
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2004-17

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 48 boulevard Jourdan - 75014 Paris
Phone: 01 43 13 63 00
Fax: 01 43 13 63 10
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research


This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.



This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2004-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.