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Life Satisfaction and Keeping Up with Other Countries

Listed author(s):
  • Ozan Eksi

    ()

    (TOBB University of Economics and Technology)

  • Neslihan Kaya

    ()

    (Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey)

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.

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File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10902-016-9724-2
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.

Volume (Year): 18 (2017)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 199-228

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:18:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9724-2
DOI: 10.1007/s10902-016-9724-2
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/wellbeing+%26+quality-of-life/journal/10902/PS2

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