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The Effects of Wealth and Income on Subjective Well-Being and Ill-Being

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  • Mark Wooden

    ()
    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Bruce Headey

    ()
    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

Abstract

The accepted view among psychologists and, increasingly, economists is that household income has statistically significant but only small effects on measures of subjective well-being. Income, however, is clearly an imperfect measure of the economic circumstances of households. Using data drawn from the 2002 wave of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, this paper demonstrates that wealth, which can be viewed as providing a degree of economic security, is at least as important to well-being and ill-being as income.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2004n03.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2004n03

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  1. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
  3. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michale A. Shields, 2001. "The Value of Reunification in Germany: An Analysis of Changes in Life Satisfaction," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 828, The University of Melbourne.
  4. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Bruce Headey & Gary Marks & Mark Wooden, 2005. "The Structure and Distribution of Household Wealth in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(2), pages 159-175, 06.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," IEW - Working Papers 015, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Mike Shields & Mark Wooden, 2003. "Investigating the Role of Neighbourhood Characteristics in Determining Life Satisfaction," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2003n24, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Bruce Headey & Jonathan Kelley & Alex Wearing, 1993. "Dimensions of mental health: Life satisfaction, positive affect, anxiety and depression," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 63-82, May.
  9. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith & Frank Stafford, 2004. "The Measurement and Structure of Household Wealth," Labor and Demography 0402009, EconWPA.
  10. Hollander, Heinz, 2001. "On the validity of utility statements: standard theory versus Duesenberry's," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 227-249, July.
  11. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  12. Randolph Mullis, 1992. "Measures of economic well-being as predictors of psychological well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 119-135, March.
  13. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Mark Wooden & Simon Freidin & Nicole Watson, 2002. "The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)Survey: Wave 1," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(3), pages 339-348.
  15. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
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