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Income, sense of community and subjective well-being: Combining economic and psychological variables

  • Jorgensen, Bradley S.
  • Jamieson, Robert D.
  • Martin, John F.
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    The purpose of this study was to test the effects of income and reference group income on well-being while controlling for a range of social psychological variables. A random sample of 1033 residents in a regional Australian city were surveyed by mail on a number of variables including subjective well-being, sense of community, attitudes toward their political officials, civic participation, perceptions of city life, and socio-demographics. Three general findings are reported. First, income had a significant influence on well-being, but individuals' perceptions of their access to health services had a larger effect. Second, we found that the relationship between well-being and some of its determinants (e.g., health service perceptions) varied significantly between low and high levels of income at the household level and at the regional level. Finally, reference group income was not a significant predictor of well-being in any of the analyses we conducted. These results are discussed in light of the results from previous research in this area.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8H-4YXK49T-2/2/2bb29c6b98c26f0e22bb79b258dec508
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 612-623

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:4:p:612-623
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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    1. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2005. "Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society," Working Papers 05095, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    3. Ed Diener & Ed Sandvik & Larry Seidlitz & Marissa Diener, 1993. "The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 195-223, March.
    4. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    5. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2007. "The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures," IZA Discussion Papers 2724, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Georgellis, Yannis & Tsitsianis, Nicholas & Yin, Ya Ping, 2009. "Income and happiness across Europe: Do reference values matter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 42-51, February.
    7. 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.
    8. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    9. Yannis Georgellis & Nicholas Tsitsianis & Ya Yin, 2009. "Personal Values as Mitigating Factors in the Link Between Income and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the European Social Survey," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 91(3), pages 329-344, May.
    10. 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.
    11. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Reported Subjective Well-Being: A Challenge for Economic Theory and Economic Policy," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 124(2), pages 191-231.
    12. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
    13. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    14. 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.
    15. Robert Cummins, 2000. "Personal Income and Subjective Well-being: A Review," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 133-158, June.
    16. Rojas, Mariano, 2007. "Heterogeneity in the relationship between income and happiness: A conceptual-referent-theory explanation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-14, January.
    17. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
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