Life satisfaction and income inequality
AbstractDo people care about income inequality and does income inequality affect subjective wellbeing? Welfare theories can predict either a positive or a negative impact of income inequality on subjective well-being and empirical research has found evidence on a positive, negative or non significant relation. This paper attempts to determine some of the possible causes of such empirical heterogeneity. Using a very large sample of world citizens we test the consistency of income inequality in predicting life satisfaction. We find that income inequality has a negative and significant effect on life satisfaction. This result is robust to changes of regressors and estimation choices and also persists across different income groups and across different types of countries. However, this relation is easily obscured or reversed by multicollinearity generated by the use of country and year fixed effects. This is particularly true if the number of data points for inequality is small, which is a common feature of cross-country or longitudinal studies.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 178.
Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-01-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-HAP-2011-01-23 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-SOC-2011-01-23 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- How does income inequality affect happiness?
by Winton Bates in Freedom and Flourishing on 2012-02-09 06:07:00
- Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D'Ambrosio, 2014.
"Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence,"
PSE Working Papers
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- Krzysztof Zagorski & Mariah Evans & Jonathan Kelley & Katarzyna Piotrowska, 2014. "Does National Income Inequality Affect Individuals’ Quality of Life in Europe? Inequality, Happiness, Finances, and Health," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 1089-1110, July.
- Jesper Rözer & Gerbert Kraaykamp, 2013. "Income Inequality and Subjective Well-being: A Cross-National Study on the Conditional Effects of Individual and National Characteristics," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 1009-1023, September.
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- Luebker, Malte, 2012. "Income inequality, redistribution and poverty contrasting rational choice and behavioural perspectives," ILO Working Papers 471001, International Labour Organization.
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