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Unmet Aspirations and Urban Malaise

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  • Tomas Hanell

    (University of Helsinki)

Abstract

This article analyses the gap between human aspirations concerning self-enhancement and corresponding outcomes in ten western European countries. Utilizing individual data for 14,300 respondents from the European Social Survey, four self-enhancement gap metrics are created: (1) the Ambition gap; (2) the Success gap; (3) the Wealth gap; and (4) the Authority gap. The findings suggest that subjective well-being (SWB) appears to be higher in rural than in urban communities. One reason for lower SWB among urban residents relates to their higher aspirations in certain areas of life. However, urban areas are apparently able to meet the financial expectations of their inhabitants far better than rural areas are, whereas an unmet craving for, e.g., success in rural areas appears not to affect SWB at all. Overall, there is a strong association between unmet aspirations and lower satisfaction with life. The added value of this paper is that it goes beyond existing explanations of the reasons behind urban malaise in developed economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas Hanell, 2022. "Unmet Aspirations and Urban Malaise," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 83-103, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:164:y:2022:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-021-02864-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-021-02864-8
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    Cited by:

    1. Tomas Hanell & Teemu Makkonen & Daniel Rauhut, 2022. "Guest Editorial: Geographies of Well-Being and Quality of Life," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 1-10, November.
    2. Camilla Lenzi & Giovanni Perucca, 2022. "No Place for Poor Men: On the Asymmetric Effect of Urbanization on Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 165-187, November.

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