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Inequality and Happiness in Urban China

  • Russell Smyth

    ()

    (Monash University)

  • Xiaolei Qian

    ()

    (Monash University)

This note examines the relationship between inequality and happiness in urban China using a large-scale survey administered in 31 cities in September 2002. We find that those who perceive income distribution to be unequal report lower levels of happiness, although results differ between high and low income individuals. We also examine the effect of reference group income on reported happiness and find that having wealthier city-mates lowers reported happiness, controlling for own income.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/EB/2008/Volume4/EB-08D30003A.pdf
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Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 4 (2008)
Issue (Month): 24 ()
Pages: 1-10

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-08d30003
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  1. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  2. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
  3. Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
  4. Alesina, Alberto F & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2001. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Hirschman, Albert O., 1973. "The changing tolerance for income inequality in the course of economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 1(12), pages 29-36, December.
  6. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  7. Claudia Biancotti & Giovanni D'Alessio, 2007. "Inequality and Happiness," Working Papers 75, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  8. Thurow, Lester C, 1971. "The Income Distribution as a Pure Public Good," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 327-36, May.
  9. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  10. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
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