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Identity, Inequality, and Happiness: Evidence from Urban China

  • Jiang, Shiqing
  • Lu, Ming
  • Sato, Hiroshi

This paper presents the impact of income inequality on subjective well-being using data from the 2002 Chinese Household Income Project (CHIP) Survey. We find that people feel unhappy with between-group inequality, as measured by the income gap between migrants without local urban hukou (household registration identity) and urban residents, irrespective of whether they are urban residents with or without local hukou. However, when we control for identity-related inequality and other individual, household, and city-level characteristics, inequality (as measured by city-level Gini coefficients) positively correlates with happiness. This study contributes to the inequality–happiness literature by distinguishing between the different effects of between-group and general inequality on happiness.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1190-1200

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:6:p:1190-1200
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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  1. Geeta G. Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-21, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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