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A Note on Inequality Aversion Across Countries, Using Two New Measures

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  • Macunovich, Diane J.

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    (University of Redlands)

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    Abstract

    Studies using the Gini Index as a measure of income inequality have consistently found a positive and significant effect of the Gini on both happiness and life satisfaction. Two new measures used here – the ratio of persons in the lowest income decile relative to the number in the highest, and the ratio of the number in the lowest social class relative to the number in the highest, in a given country – as developed from the World Values Survey data, are shown here to have a negative and significant effect on both happiness and life satisfaction. This effect holds overall across countries, and for individuals within most income and class categories.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5734.

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    Length: 20 pages
    Date of creation: May 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5734

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    Keywords: inequality; happiness; life satisfaction;

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    1. Edward Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2007. "The Impact of Wealth Inequality on Economic Well-Being," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 50(4), pages 65-87, August.
    2. Claudia Senik, 2005. "Income distribution and well-being: what can we learn from subjective data?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 43-63, 02.
    3. Ed Hopkins, 2008. "Inequality, Happiness and Relative Concerns: What Actually is their Relationship?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001896, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
    5. Udo Ebert & Heinz Welsch, 2009. "How Do Europeans Evaluate Income Distributions? An Assessment Based On Happiness Surveys," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(3), pages 803-819, 09.
    6. Hilke Brockmann & Jan Delhey & Christian Welzel & Hao Yuan, 2009. "The China Puzzle: Falling Happiness in a Rising Economy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405, August.
    7. Russell Smyth & Xiaolei Qian, 2008. "Inequality and Happiness in Urban China," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(24), pages 1-10.
    8. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
    9. Conchita D’Ambrosio & Joachim Frick, 2007. "Income Satisfaction and Relative Deprivation: An Empirical Link," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 81(3), pages 497-519, May.
    10. 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.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2008:i:24:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:
    1. 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.
    2. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D'Ambrosio, 2014. "Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence," PSE Working Papers halshs-00967938, HAL.

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