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The poor, the rich and the happy: Exploring the link between income and subjective well-being

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  • Mentzakis, Emmanouil
  • Moro, Mirko

Abstract

The relationship between income and subjective well-being (SWB) is investigated using eight waves of the British Household Panel Survey and an estimation strategy that allows us to relax some assumptions typically made in the literature. First, we use a random effects generalised ordered probit model to investigate whether income effects are heterogeneous across SWB categories, and, second, we discretise (absolute and relative) income variables to allow for the income effects to vary across income groups. We find that higher absolute income increases SWB but up to a certain level, while low income is significantly correlated with low scores in the SWB ladder. Our results are consistent with the Easterlin Paradox that has been reported in the literature. We find that high-income groups are less likely to belong in the highest SWB level, which could be partly explained by the fact that the relative income status (rather than the absolute one) is more important in determining (the highest level of) SWB.

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  • Mentzakis, Emmanouil & Moro, Mirko, 2009. "The poor, the rich and the happy: Exploring the link between income and subjective well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 147-158, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:1:p:147-158
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    Cited by:

    1. Pedersen, Peder J. & Schmidt, Torben Dall, 2009. "Happiness in Europe: Cross-Country Differences in the Determinants of Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 4538, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Mentzakis, Emmanouil & Suhrcke, Marc & Roberts, Bayard & Murphy, Adrianna & McKee, Martin, 2013. "Estimating the causal effect of alcohol consumption on well-being for a cross-section of 9 former Soviet Union countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 1-7.
    3. Daniel Gray, 2014. "Financial Concerns and Overall Life Satisfaction: A Joint Modelling Approach," Working Papers 2014008, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    4. Emmanouil Mentzakis & Paul McNamee & Mandy Ryan & Matthew Sutton, 2012. "Valuing Informal Care Experience: Does Choice of Measure Matter?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 169-184, August.
    5. Chang-Keun Han & Song-Iee Hong, 2011. "Assets and Life Satisfaction Patterns Among Korean Older Adults: Latent Class Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 100(2), pages 225-240, January.
    6. Helena Marques & Gabriel Pino & J.D. Tena, 2013. "Do happiness indexes truly reveal happiness? Measuring happiness using revealed preferences from migration flows," DEA Working Papers 59, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Departament d'Economía Aplicada.
    7. Susana Ferreira & Mirko Moro, 2010. "On the Use of Subjective Well-Being Data for Environmental Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 249-273, July.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:658-:d:96391 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Prinz, Aloys & Bünger, Björn, 2011. "The usefulness of a Happy Income Index," CAWM Discussion Papers 15, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    10. Rok Spruk & Aleskandar Kešeljević, 2016. "Institutional Origins of Subjective Well-Being: Estimating the Effects of Economic Freedom on National Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 659-712, April.
    11. repec:aes:amfeco:v:46:y:2017:i:19:p:822 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Liselot Hudders & Mario Pandelaere, 2012. "The Silver Lining of Materialism: The Impact of Luxury Consumption on Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 411-437, June.
    13. Grimani, Katerina, 2014. "Labor earnings and Psychological well-being: An Empirical Analysis," MPRA Paper 57098, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Petrik Runst, 2015. "Between community and society: political attitudes in transition countries," Chapters,in: Culture and Economic Action, chapter 14, pages 318-336 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Silvio Borrero & Ana Bolena Escobar & Aura María Cortés & Luis Carlos Maya, 2013. "Poor and distressed, but happy: situational and cultural moderators of the relationship between wealth and happiness," ESTUDIOS GERENCIALES, UNIVERSIDAD ICESI, March.
    16. Nahmias–Biran, Bat-hen & Shiftan, Yoram, 2016. "Towards a more equitable distribution of resources: Using activity-based models and subjective well-being measures in transport project evaluation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 672-684.
    17. Orlowski, Johannes & Wicker, Pamela, 2015. "The monetary value of social capital," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 26-36.
    18. Pedersen, Peder J. & Schmidt, Torben Dall, 2011. "Happiness in Europe," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 480-489.

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