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Ambition and Jealousy: Income Interactions in the ‘Old’ Europe versus the ‘New’ Europe and the United States

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  • CLAUDIA SENIK

Abstract

Using individual‐level data from a large number of countries, this paper examines how self‐reported subjective well‐being depends on own income and reference income, where reference income is defined as the income of one's professional peers. It uncovers a divide between ‘old’—low‐mobility—European countries on the one hand, and ‘new’ European post‐Transition countries and the United States on the other. The relative importance of comparisons (‘jealousy’) versus information (‘ambition’) seems to depend on the degree of mobility and uncertainty in the considered countries.

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  • Claudia Senik, 2008. "Ambition and Jealousy: Income Interactions in the ‘Old’ Europe versus the ‘New’ Europe and the United States," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 495-513, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:75:y:2008:i:299:p:495-513
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0335.2007.00629.x
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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