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Neighbors' Income, Public Goods, and Well‐Being

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  • Abel Brodeur
  • Sarah Flèche

Abstract

How does neighbors' income affect individual well‐being? Our analysis is based on rich U.S. local data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which contains information on where respondents live and their self‐reported well‐being. We find that the effect of neighbors' income on individuals' self‐reported well‐being varies with the size of the neighborhood included. In smaller areas such as ZIP codes, we find a positive relationship between median income and individuals' life satisfaction, whereas it is the opposite at the county, MSA, and state levels. We provide evidence that local public goods and local area characteristics such as unemployment, criminality, and poverty rates drive the association between satisfaction and neighbors' income at the ZIP code level. The neighbors' income effects are mainly concentrated among poorer individuals and are as large as one quarter of the effect of own income on self‐reported well‐being.

Suggested Citation

  • Abel Brodeur & Sarah Flèche, 2019. "Neighbors' Income, Public Goods, and Well‐Being," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(2), pages 217-238, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:65:y:2019:i:2:p:217-238
    DOI: 10.1111/roiw.12367
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    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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