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Relative income, absolute income and the life satisfaction of older adults: do retirees differ from the non-retired?

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  • Umar M. A. Boodoo
  • Rafael Gomez
  • Morley Gunderson

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Umar M. A. Boodoo & Rafael Gomez & Morley Gunderson, 2014. "Relative income, absolute income and the life satisfaction of older adults: do retirees differ from the non-retired?," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 281-299, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:indrel:v:45:y:2014:i:4:p:281-299
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/irj.12052
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2015. "Are public sector workers different? Cross-European evidence from elderly workers and retirees," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    2. Tim Friehe & Mario Mechtel & Markus Pannenberg, 2014. "Positional Income Concerns: Prevalence and Relationship with Personality and Economic Preferences," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201411, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).

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