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Beyond the Joneses: inter-country income comparisons and happiness

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  • Leonardo Becchetti
  • Stefano Castriota
  • Elena Giachin Ricca

Abstract

Our paper provides some novel evidence on the burgeoning literature on life satisfaction and relative comparisons by showing that in the last 30 years comparisons with the wellbeing of top income countries have generated progressively more negative feelings on a large sample of individuals in the Eurobarometer survey. The paper contributes in two main directions: (i) it shows that countries, and not just neighbors, can be reference groups; (ii) it documents a globalization effect by which distant countries become progressively closer and comparisons among them more intense and relevant. Our findings may be interpreted in support of the well known hypothesis that migratory decisions are affected by the gap in economic wellbeing between origin and destination country since they document that such gap affects individual life satisfaction.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica in its series Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica with number 82/2010.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: 15 Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pia:wpaper:82/2010

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Keywords: life satisfaction; relative income; standard of living; comparisons.;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2012. "When Samuelson met Veblen abroad: National and global public good provision when social comparisons matter," Working Papers in Economics 538, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  2. Stefano Herzel & Marco Nicolosi & Catalin Starica, 2011. "The cost of sustainability on optimal portfolio choices," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 84/2011, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  3. Ed Diener & Ronald Inglehart & Louis Tay, 2013. "Theory and Validity of Life Satisfaction Scales," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 497-527, July.
  4. Beja Jr., Edsel, 2014. "Income growth and happiness: Reassessment of the Easterlin Paradox," MPRA Paper 53360, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Barbara Dluhosch & Daniel Horgos, 2013. "Trading Up the Happiness Ladder," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 973-990, September.
  6. Mirella Damiani & Fabrizio Pompei & Andrea Ricci, 2011. "Temporary job protection and productivity growth in EU economies," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 87/2011, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  7. Davide Castellani & Fabio Pieri, 2011. "Foreign Investments and Productivity Evidence from European Regions," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 83/2011, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.
  8. Francesco Venturini, 2011. "Product variety, product quality, and evidence of Schumpeterian endogenous growth: a note," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 93/2011, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia, Finanza e Statistica.

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