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Positional Concerns through the Life Cycle: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data and Survey Experiments

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  • Akay, Alpaslan

    ()
    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    ()
    (University of Gothenburg)

Abstract

This paper uses both subjective well-being and survey experimental data to analyze how people's positional concerns regarding income and goods vary with age. The subjective well-being approach is mainly based on German panel data for the period 1984-2009 (German Socio-Economic Panel), while the survey experimental approach is based on a tailor-made experimental design conducted among Swedish adults. Our analysis suggests that the degree of positional concerns is not homogenous across the life cycle. Our different analytical approaches show a robust life cycle pattern of positional concerns: young people experience no or a low degree of positional concerns, yet the level of concerns for income increases gradually and significantly with age. The results also differ across goods: while car consumption is similar to income, the positional concern for leisure time decreases through the life cycle.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6342.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6342

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Keywords: positional concerns; life cycle; subjective well-being; survey experiment;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. FitzRoy, Felix & Nolan, Michael A. & Steinhardt, Max & Ulph, David, 2013. "Testing the Tunnel Effect: Comparison, Age and Happiness in UK and German Panels," IZA Discussion Papers 7452, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Santi Budria & Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-cognitive Skills," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 441, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Vendrik, Maarten C.M., 2013. "Adaptation, anticipation and social interaction in happiness: An integrated error-correction approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 131-149.
  4. Budría, Santiago & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Santi Budria & Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," Working Papers 733, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

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