Relative payoffs and happiness: An experimental study
AbstractSome current utility models presume that people are concerned with their relative standing in a reference group. If this is true, do certain types care more about this than others? Using simple binary decisions and self-reported happiness, we investigate both the prevalence of ``difference aversion'' and whether happiness levels influence the taste for social comparisons. Our decision tasks distinguish between a person’s desire to achieving the social optimum, equality or advantageous relative standing. Most people appear to disregard relative payoffs, instead typically making choices resulting in higher social payoffs. While we do not find a strong general correlation between happiness and concern for relative payoffs, we do observe that a willingness to lower another person’s payoff below one’s own (competitive preferences) seems correlated with unhappiness.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 436.
Date of creation: Aug 1999
Date of revision: Jan 2000
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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/
Happiness; relative payoffs; social preferences; subjective well-being; Leex;
Other versions of this item:
- Charness, Gary & Grosskopf, Brit, 2001. "Relative payoffs and happiness: an experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 301-328, July.
- Brit Grosskopf, 2000. "Relative Payoffs and Happiness: An Experimental Study," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1263, Econometric Society.
- Charness, Gary B & Grosskopf, Brit, 2000. "Relative Payoffs And Happiness: An Experimental Study," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8389x8z2, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
- A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
- B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
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