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Happiness in the Dual Society of Urban China: Hukou Identity, Horizontal Inequality and Heterogeneous

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  • Shiqing Jiang
  • Ming Lu
  • Hiroshi Sato

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of income inequality on the subjective well-being of different social groups in urban China. We classify urban social groups according to their hukou status: rural migrants, gbornh urban residents, and gacquiredh urban residents who once changed their hukou identity from rural to urban. We focus on how the horizontal inequality-income disparity between migrants and urban residents-affects individual happiness. The main results are as follows. First, migrants suffer from unhappiness when the horizontal inequality increases, but urban residents show a much smaller aversion to the horizontal inequality. Second, migrants will not be happier if their relative incomes within their migrant group increase, while urban residents do become happier when their incomes increase within their groupfs income distribution. Third, gacquiredh urban residents have traits of both migrants and gbornh urban residents. They have an aversion to the horizontal inequality like migrants, and they also favor higher relative income among urban residents. Fourth, gbornh urban residents have lower happiness scores when they are old. People who are Communist Party members strongly dislike the horizontal inequality. Our findings suggest that migrants, gacquiredh urban residents, elderly people and Party members from gbornh urban residents are the potential proponents of social integration policies in urban China.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number gd08-020.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hst:ghsdps:gd08-020

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Keywords: Horizontal inequality; Happiness; Hukou identity; Migration; Social integration;

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References

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  1. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2010. "Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 113-124, January.
  2. John Knight & Lina Song, 2007. "Subjective Well-being and its Determinants in Rural China," Economics Series Working Papers 334, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  5. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2005. "Has China crossed the river? The evolution of wage structure in urban China during reform and retrenchment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 644-663, December.
  6. Zhao Chen & Shiqing Jiang & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2008. "How Do Heterogeneous Social Interactions Affect the Peer Effect in Rural-Urban Migration?: Empirical Evidence from China," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-008, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  7. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2008. "Aspirations, Adaptation and Subjective Well-Being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," Economics Series Working Papers 381, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Shuang LI & Ming LU & Hiroshi Sato, 2008. "The Value of Power in China: How Do Party Membership and Social Networks Affect Pay in Different Ownership Sectors?," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-011, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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Cited by:
  1. Asadullah, Mohammad Niaz & Chaudhury, Nazmul, 2012. "Subjective well-being and relative poverty in rural Bangladesh," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 940-950.

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