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They Are Richer But Are They Happier? Subjective Well-Being of Chinese Citizens Across the Reform Era

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  • Zhilin Tang

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Abstract

This study examined Chinese’s subjective well-being (SWB) in the past two decades. By capitalizing on the single time-series data available on SWB in China during the reform era (spanning for nearly two decades) and adopting a newly-developed cross-classified random effects model that can disentangle the confounding effects of age, period and birth cohorts, this analysis detects significant age and period effect. First, Chinese exhibits a curvilinear and concave relation between age and life satisfaction. Secondly, economic prosperity in the past decades did not translate into greater satisfaction with life among Chinese people. Significant period effect reveals a V-shape pattern of life satisfaction: the declining trend has continued throughout the 1990s and the beginning of the millennium. By 2007 (the most recently available), the life satisfaction of Chinese people has rebounded to some extent, albeit still considerably lower than in 1990. Subsequently, in search of explanations for this overall trend of plummeted subjective well-being among Chinese citizens over time, whether and how the rising inequality asserts its influence on SWB in China’s context are tested and discussed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

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  • Zhilin Tang, 2014. "They Are Richer But Are They Happier? Subjective Well-Being of Chinese Citizens Across the Reform Era," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(1), pages 145-164, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:117:y:2014:i:1:p:145-164 DOI: 10.1007/s11205-013-0339-2
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    1. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1387-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Zhou Jiang & Xiaowen Hu, 2016. "Knowledge Sharing and Life Satisfaction: The Roles of Colleague Relationships and Gender," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 379-394, March.
    3. Kevin Tze-wai Wong & Victor Zheng & Po-san Wan, 2017. "A Dissatisfied Generation? An Age–Period–Cohort Analysis of the Political Satisfaction of Youth in Hong Kong from 1997 to 2014," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 253-276, January.

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