IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/deveco/v86y2008i1p43-60.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Subjective welfare, isolation, and relative consumption

Author

Listed:
  • Fafchamps, Marcel
  • Shilpi, Forhad

Abstract

The recent literature has shown that subjective welfare depends on relative income. Much of the existing evidence comes from developed economies. What remains unclear is whether this is a universal human trait or an artifact of a prosperous, market-oriented lifestyle. Using data from Nepal, a mountainous country where many households still live in relative isolation, we test whether poorer and more isolated households care less about relative consumption. We find that they do not. We investigate possible reasons for this. We reject that it is due to parental concerns regarding the marriage prospects of their children. But we find evidence in support of the reference point hypothesis put forth by psychologists: household heads having migrated out of their birth district still judge the adequacy of their consumption in comparison with households in their district of origin.

Suggested Citation

  • Fafchamps, Marcel & Shilpi, Forhad, 2008. "Subjective welfare, isolation, and relative consumption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 43-60, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:86:y:2008:i:1:p:43-60
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304-3878(07)00070-3
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes, 2005. "Assets at marriage in rural Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 1-25, June.
    2. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 897-930, October.
    3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    4. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-546, June.
    5. Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological foundations of incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
    6. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Knight, John, 2007. "Community, comparisons and subjective well-being in a divided society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 69-90, September.
    7. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    8. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2000. "Halting Degradation of Natural Resources: Is There a Role for Rural Communities?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290612.
    9. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    10. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2010. "Who cares about relative deprivation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 171-185, February.
    11. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    12. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
    13. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    14. Ravallion, Martin & Dearden, Lorraine, 1988. "Social Security in a "Moral Economy": An Empirical Analysis for Java," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 36-44, February.
    15. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    16. Foster, James E, 1998. "Absolute versus Relative Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 335-341, May.
    17. Curtis Eaton & Mukesh Eswaran, 2003. "The evolution of preferences and competition: a rationalization of Veblen's theory of invidious comparisons," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 832-859, November.
    18. Marcel Fafchamps & Forhad Shilpi, 2004. "Isolation and Subjective Welfare," Economics Series Working Papers 216, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    19. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    20. Mark R. Rosenzweig & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1985. "Specific Experience, Household Structure, and Intergenerational Transfers: Farm Family Land and Labor Arrangements in Developing Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(Supplemen), pages 961-987.
    21. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Knight, John, 2007. "Community, comparisons and subjective well-being in a divided society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 69-90, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:86:y:2008:i:1:p:43-60. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.