IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/jhappi/v20y2019i8d10.1007_s10902-018-0067-z.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Happiness Inequality in China

Author

Listed:
  • Jidong Yang

    (Renmin University of China)

  • Kai Liu

    () (Renmin University of China)

  • Yiran Zhang

    (Renmin University of China)

Abstract

Along with China becoming an upper-middle-income country from a lower-middle-income one after 2009, happiness inequality in China has been enlarged. Based on the Chinese General Social Survey database (2003–2015), this paper investigates the determinants of happiness inequality in China and explores what factors contribute to its enlargement after 2009. We find that a rise of income inequality as well as the population share of middle age cohorts can widen China’s happiness inequality, while an increase in income or education level has a reducing impact. Being in employment also has happiness inequality reducing impacts. A decomposition analysis shows that the deterioration of China’s happiness inequality is mainly caused by coefficient effects, i.e., the relationships between happiness inequality and its influencing factors have changed, which reflects the dramatic change in the Chinese economy and society. Among the coefficient effects, regional heterogeneity plays an important role. Policies enhancing economic performance and education as well as reducing income inequality and regional inequality can help to mitigate happiness inequality and improve social harmony in China.

Suggested Citation

  • Jidong Yang & Kai Liu & Yiran Zhang, 2019. "Happiness Inequality in China," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 20(8), pages 2747-2771, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:20:y:2019:i:8:d:10.1007_s10902-018-0067-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-018-0067-z
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10902-018-0067-z
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Leonardo Becchetti & Riccardo Massari & Paolo Naticchioni, 2014. "The drivers of happiness inequality: suggestions for promoting social cohesion," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 419-442.
    2. Victor Chernozhukov & Iván Fernández‐Val & Blaise Melly, 2013. "Inference on Counterfactual Distributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2205-2268, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth & Qingguo Zhai, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being of China’s Off-Farm Migrants," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 315-333, June.
    5. Bernard Praag, 2011. "Well-being inequality and reference groups: an agenda for new research," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 9(1), pages 111-127, March.
    6. Hau Chyi & Shangyi Mao, 2012. "The Determinants of Happiness of China’s Elderly Population," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 167-185, March.
    7. Zhiming Cheng & Haining Wang & Russell Smyth, 2014. "Happiness and job satisfaction in urban China: A comparative study of two generations of migrants and urban locals," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 51(10), pages 2160-2184, August.
    8. Jiang, Shiqing & Lu, Ming & Sato, Hiroshi, 2012. "Identity, Inequality, and Happiness: Evidence from Urban China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1190-1200.
    9. Levinson, Arik, 2012. "Valuing public goods using happiness data: The case of air quality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 869-880.
    10. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    11. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Claudia Senik, 2016. "Economic Growth Evens Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 405-419, September.
    12. Asadullah, M. Niaz & Xiao, Saizi & Yeoh, Emile, 2018. "Subjective well-being in China, 2005–2010: The role of relative income, gender, and location," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 83-101.
    13. J. Ott, 2011. "Government and Happiness in 130 Nations: Good Governance Fosters Higher Level and More Equality of Happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 102(1), pages 3-22, May.
    14. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 953-973, May.
    15. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Claudia Senik, 2016. "Economic Growth Evens Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 405-419, September.
    16. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Claudia Senik, 2016. "Economic Growth Evens Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 405-419, September.
    17. Luechinger, Simon, 2010. "Life satisfaction and transboundary air pollution," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 4-6, April.
    18. Beegle, Kathleen & Himelein, Kristen & Ravallion, Martin, 2012. "Frame-of-reference bias in subjective welfare," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 556-570.
    19. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Happiness Inequality in the United States," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages 33-79, June.
    20. Néstor Gandelman & Rafael Porzecanski, 2013. "Happiness Inequality: How Much is Reasonable?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(1), pages 257-269, January.
    21. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina, 2008. "Life Satisfaction in Urban China: Components and Determinants," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2325-2340, November.
    22. David Madden, 2011. "The Impact of an Economic Boom on the Level and Distribution of Subjective Well-Being: Ireland, 1994–2001," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 667-679, August.
    23. Youqin Huang & Chengdong Yi, 2010. "Consumption and Tenure Choice of Multiple Homes in Transitional Urban China," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 105-131.
    24. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    25. Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Return of Inequality in Modern Society? Test by Dispersion of Life-Satisfaction Across Time and Nations," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 457-487, December.
    26. Sergio P. Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2018. "Decomposing Wage Distributions Using Recentered Influence Function Regressions," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 1-40, May.
    27. Peigang Wang & Tyler VanderWeele, 2011. "Empirical Research on Factors Related to the Subjective Well-Being of Chinese Urban Residents," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 101(3), pages 447-459, May.
    28. Ying Liang & Peigang Wang, 2014. "Influence of Prudential Value on the Subjective Well-Being of Chinese Urban–Rural Residents," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 1249-1267, September.
    29. Wim Kalmijn & Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Measuring Inequality of Happiness in Nations: In Search for Proper Statistics," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 357-396, December.
    30. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
    31. Yoko Niimi, 2018. "What Affects Happiness Inequality? Evidence from Japan," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 521-543, February.
    32. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Claudia Senik, 2016. "Economic Growth Evens Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 405-419, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness inequality; Income; Income inequality; Education; China;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:20:y:2019:i:8:d:10.1007_s10902-018-0067-z. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.