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Individual needs and social pressure: Evidence on the Easterlin hypothesis using repeated cross-section surveys of Canadian households

  • Gardes, François
  • Merrigan, Philip

This paper provides additional evidence, using time-series and cross-sectional Canadian survey data, for the Easterlin hypothesis of an important income elasticity of individual needs. Our analysis is based on the regression of a minimum income to satisfy needs equation derived from a simple utility maximization framework. Moreover, our specification allows computing the Arrow-Pratt relative risk-aversion index and the Intertemporal Rate of Substitution. Our results are robust to different estimation methods dealing with the endogenous nature of income. We also compute poverty rates using our estimated equation parameters and standard OECD measures of poverty and find that some subjective measures are relatively close to the OECD measures.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (June)
Pages: 582-596

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:66:y:2008:i:3-4:p:582-596
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Shigeyuki Hamori, 1996. "Consumption growth and the intertemporal elasticity of substitution: some evidence from income quintile groups in Japan," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(8), pages 529-532.
  2. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
  3. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "Intertemporal Substitution, Risk Aversion and the Euler Equation for Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 59-73, Supplemen.
  6. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
  7. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  8. van Praag, Bernard M S & Hagenaars, Aldi J M & van Weeren, Hans, 1982. "Poverty in Europe," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 28(3), pages 345-59, September.
  9. Verbeek, M.J.C.M. & Nijman, T.E., 1990. "Can cohort data be treated as genuine panel data?," Discussion Paper 1990-64, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  11. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  12. van de Stadt, Huib & Kapteyn, Arie & van de Geer, Sara, 1985. "The Relativity of Utility: Evidence from Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(2), pages 179-87, May.
  13. Hagenaars, Aldi J M & van Praag, Bernard M S, 1985. "A Synthesis of Poverty Line Definitions," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 31(2), pages 139-54, June.
  14. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
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