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Income, Health and Happiness


  • Peter Saunders


"This article utilises unit record data from the" 1989-90 National Health Survey "to explore the relationships between low income and perceptions of health and happiness. After describing how the key variables were constructed, attention is focused on the incidence of perceived poor health and unhappiness among those individuals living in income units on either side of a poverty threshold related to the Henderson poverty line. The results reveal that those in poverty generally have poorer health and are less happy than those above the poverty threshold. The observed differences are statistically significant for many income unit types, particularly non-aged single people and couples with children. Attention then turns to exploring how health and happiness vary across the deciles of the income distribution. Again, significant differences are revealed, particularly when more sophisticated distributional measures are employed. Finally, consideration is given to the possibility that the results reflect reverse causality, and that the observed correlations incorporate the role of intervening variables." Copyright 1996 The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Saunders, 1996. "Income, Health and Happiness," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 29(4), pages 353-366.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:29:y:1996:i:4:p:353-366

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    Cited by:

    1. Victoria Ateca-Amestoy & Mariana Gerstenblüth & Irene Mussio & Máximo Rossi, 2014. "How do Cultural Activities Influence Happiness? The Relation Between Self-Reported Well-Being and Leisure," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0614, Department of Economics - dECON.
    2. Manoj K. Pandey, 2009. "Poverty and Disability among Indian Elderly: Evidence from Household Survey," ASARC Working Papers 2009-10, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.

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