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Life Satisfaction and Keeping Up with Other Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Ozan Eksi

    () (TOBB University of Economics and Technology)

  • Neslihan Kaya

    () (Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey)

Abstract

Abstract Micro income studies show that relative income of individuals—with respect to their colleagues, friends, etc.—affects their life satisfaction significantly. This paper attempts to extend these studies by using the idea that people may compare their well-being not only to well-being of their home country folks but also to well-being of other country citizens. Using data from national surveys of 55 countries, carried out from 1973 to 2011, we find that average life satisfaction of a country is significantly affected from how much that country is deprived of income compared to richer countries in the world. Furthermore, per capita income of a country only matters as far as it affects its relative position in the global income distribution. This result, gaining statistical significance after 1990s, is a potential explanation for the paradox that even though richer countries tend to be happier compared to poor ones, a country does not necessarily get happier as its income increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Ozan Eksi & Neslihan Kaya, 2017. "Life Satisfaction and Keeping Up with Other Countries," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 199-228, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:18:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9724-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-016-9724-2
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life satisfaction; Relative deprivation; Global comparison groups;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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