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The Effects of Relative Income and Absolute Income on Happiness

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  • Hung-Lin Tao
  • Shih-Yung Chiu

Abstract

The authors consider the absolute income effect and several relative income effects on happiness. The latter include both a longitudinal comparison, which consists of both upward and downward comparisons, and a parallel comparison with individuals of similar traits. It is found that the longitudinal comparison and parallel comparison exist simultaneously, although the downward comparison is insignificant. However, the symmetry of the upward comparison, downward comparison, and parallel comparison cannot be rejected. Because the absolute income effect and the relative income effects countervail, the effect of income growth on subjective well-being is likely to be negligible. Copyright © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Hung-Lin Tao & Shih-Yung Chiu, 2009. "The Effects of Relative Income and Absolute Income on Happiness," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 164-174, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:13:y:2009:i:1:p:164-174
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Verme, Paolo, 2013. "The relative income and relative deprivation hypotheses : a review of the empirical literature," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6606, The World Bank.
    2. Aguilar, Alexandra Cortés & García Muñoz, Teresa M. & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2013. "Heterogeneous self-employment and satisfaction in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 44-61.
    3. Ateca Amestoy, Victoria María & Cortés Aguilar, Alexandra & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2011. "Social Interactions and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Latin America," DFAEII Working Papers 2011-05, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    4. Victoria Ateca-Amestoy & Alexandra Aguilar & Ana Moro-Egido, 2014. "Social Interactions and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Latin America," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 527-554, June.
    5. Elena Bárcena-Martín & Cortés Aguilar Alexandra & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2013. "The role of proximity and social comparisons on subjective well-being," ThE Papers 13/10, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    6. Hui-Chuan Hsu, 2010. "Trajectory of Life Satisfaction and its Relationship with Subjective Economic Status and Successful Aging," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 99(3), pages 455-468, December.
    7. Chen, Xi, 2015. "Status Concern and Relative Deprivation in China: Measures, Empirical Evidence, and Economic and Policy Implications," IZA Discussion Papers 9519, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Tsui, Hsiao-Chien, 2014. "What affects happiness: Absolute income, relative income or expected income?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 994-1007.
    9. Wen-Chun Chang, 2013. "Climbing up the Social Ladders: Identity, Relative Income, and Subjective Well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 513-535, August.

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