Relative income, absolute income and the life satisfaction of older adults: do retirees differ from the non-retired?
We examine life-satisfaction of older adults using a representative sample of Canadian individuals aged 45+. Our findings confirm a long line of employment relations research on the importance of ‘relational concerns’ in that: (i) income relative to the average for a given person's gender, age, region and marital status (relative income) matters more in improving life satisfaction as a whole than does absolute personal income; (ii) the relationship between relative income and happiness is much stronger for the non-retired than retired persons, likely reflecting the importance of comparisons among peers at the workplace; and (3) absolute personal income does have a small positive relationship with life satisfaction but only for retirees and not for the non-retired.
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Volume (Year): 45 (2014)
Issue (Month): 4 (07)
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