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

Well-being Inequality and Reference Groups: An Agenda for New Research

Contents:

Author Info

  • van Praag, Bernard M. S.

    ()
    (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

In this paper it is argued that subjective well-being of the individual depends on two types of variables. The first type consists of characteristics of the individual himself, such as age, health, income, etc. The second type of variables consists of the characteristics of the individuals belonging to his reference group. The vast literature about happiness, quality of life, and well-being informs us extensively about the effects of objective variables. How the second type affects well-being is much less investigated. It is argued that the concept of well-being inequality cannot be properly defined without taking the referencing process into account. The reference effect depends on how frequently individuals compare with others and on the degree of social transparency in society. We attempt to give a structural embedding of the idea of reference groups in SWB-models. In this paper we employ the reference-extended model for incorporating in happiness studies the concept of inequality in happiness or SWB. Finally, we plead for an extension of the present happiness paradigm by setting up a new additional agenda for empirical research in order to get quantified knowledge about the referencing process. As a first step we suggest a new question module to be included in new survey questionnaires.

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: http://ftp.iza.org/dp4727.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4727.

as in new window
Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Inequality, 2011, 9 (1), 111-127
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4727

Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information:
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:

Related research

Keywords: inequality; happiness; subjective well-being; reference group;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  2. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
  5. Bernard M.S. van Praag, 2010. "Well-Being Inequality and Reference Groups - An Agenda for New Research," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-015/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 03 Mar 2010.
  6. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Bernard M.S. Van Praag, 2002. "Income Satisfaction Inequality and its Causes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-014/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Van Praag, Bernard M.S., 1977. "The perception of welfare inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 189-207.
  8. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, 05.
  9. 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.
  10. Hagenaars, Aldi J M & van Praag, Bernard M S, 1985. "A Synthesis of Poverty Line Definitions," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 31(2), pages 139-54, June.
  11. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  12. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
  13. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff & Sara Kleyer & Philipp Bleninger, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 179, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  14. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  15. Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
  16. Wunder, Christoph & Wiencierz, Andrea & Schwarze, Johannes & Küchenhoff, Helmut & Kleyer, Sara & Bleninger, Philipp, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4155, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Praag, B.M.S. van & Herwaarden, F.G. van & Kapteyn, A.J., 1978. "Individual welfare functions and social reference spaces," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-361901, Tilburg University.
  18. Senik, Claudia, 2007. "Direct Evidence on Income Comparisons and their Welfare Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 3195, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  20. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
  21. Praag, B.M.S. van & Herwaarden, F.G. van & Kapteyn, A.J., 1979. "The definition and measurement of social reference spaces," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-361904, Tilburg University.
  22. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff & Sara Kleyer & Philipp Bleninger, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 889, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Well-Being Inequality and Reference Groups – An Agenda for New Research
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2010-09-28 20:13:06
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Bernard M.S. van Praag, 2010. "Well-Being Inequality and Reference Groups - An Agenda for New Research," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-015/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 03 Mar 2010.
  2. Clark, Andrew E. & Flèche, Sarah & Senik, Claudia, 2012. "The Great Happiness Moderation," IZA Discussion Papers 6761, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Dluhosch, Barbara & Horgos, Daniel, 2012. "Trading Up the Happiness Ladder," Working Paper 115/2012, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
  4. Jantti, Markus & Kanbur, Ravi & Nyyssola, Milla & Pirttila, Jukka, 2013. "Poverty and Welfare Measurement on the Basis of Prospect Theory," Working Papers 180093, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  5. 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.
  6. Owen, Ann & Phillips, Anne, 2013. "Education, income, and the distribution of happiness," MPRA Paper 49387, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00707290 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Cristina Bernini & Andrea Guizzardi & Giovanni Angelini, 2013. "DEA-Like Model and Common Weights Approach for the Construction of a Subjective Community Well-Being Indicator," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 405-424, November.
  9. Leonardo Becchetti & Fabio Pisani, 2014. "Family Economic Well-Being, and (Class) Relative Wealth: An Empirical Analysis of Life Satisfaction of Secondary School Students in Three Italian Cities," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 503-525, June.
  10. Beja, Edsel Jr., 2012. "Yet, two more revisions to the Human Development Index," MPRA Paper 38939, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Silber, Jacques & Verme, Paolo, 2012. "Relative deprivation, reference groups and the assessment of standard of living," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 31-45.
  12. Lohmann, Steffen, 2013. "Information technologies and subjective well-being: Does the internet raise material aspirations?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 169, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  13. Wen-Chun Chang, 2013. "Climbing up the Social Ladders: Identity, Relative Income, and Subjective Well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 513-535, August.
  14. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Happiness economics," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 35-60, March.

Lists

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

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4727. 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: (Mark Fallak).

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.