Inequality in happiness: inequality in countries compared across countries
AbstractCross-national studies on happiness have focused on differences in level of happiness. The focus of this paper is on spread in happiness in the nation, also called ‘inequality in happiness’. Inequality in happiness in nations can be measured by the size of the standard deviation of responses to survey questions about the ‘overall appreciation of one’s life-as-a-whole’. This paper considers spread in happiness in 28 countries around 1980. Contrary to notions of a ‘divided’ society none of these countries shows a bi-modal distribution of happiness. All distribution are uni-modal, but the distributions are not equally flat. There are considerable differences in size of the standard deviations. These differences are not a statistical artifact of variation in level of happiness and appear quite constant through time. Inequality in happiness appears to be greater in the socio-economically most unequal countries and smaller in politically democratic and economically developed nations. Contrary to expectation, inequality in happiness appears to be more closely linked to social equality among rich nations than among not-so-rich ones.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11275.
Date of creation: 1990
Date of revision:
happiness; inequality; cross-national;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare and Poverty - - - General Welfare
- O57 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
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- Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Inequality Of Happiness in Nations," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 351-355, December.
- Wim Kalmijn & Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Measuring Inequality of Happiness in Nations: In Search for Proper Statistics," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 357-396, December.
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