IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/jdevst/v46y2010i3p506-534.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Rural-Urban Divide in China: Income but Not Happiness?

Author

Listed:
  • John Knight
  • Ramani Gunatilaka

Abstract

The paper presents subjective well-being functions for urban and rural China, based on a national household survey for 2002. Whereas the vast income disparity between urban and rural households is confirmed, it is found that, remarkably, rural households report higher subjective well-being than do their richer urban counterparts. A decomposition analysis explores the reasons for this reversal. It finds that there are many determinants of happiness other than absolute income, and that the determinants differ in the two sectors. An explanation for the puzzle is advanced in terms of relative concepts, income inequalities, orbits of comparison, and degrees of insecurity. Positive and normative implications are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2010. "The Rural-Urban Divide in China: Income but Not Happiness?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 506-534.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:46:y:2010:i:3:p:506-534
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380903012763
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220380903012763
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1080/00220380903012763?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    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. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
    2. Richard A. Easterlin, 2008. "Lost in Transition: Life Satisfaction on the Road to Capitalism," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 94, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2017. "Is Happiness Infectious?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(1), pages 1-24, February.
    4. Easterlin, Richard A., 2008. "Lost in Transition: Life Satisfaction on the Road to Capitalism," IZA Discussion Papers 3409, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Leonardo Becchetti & Alessandra Pelloni, 2013. "What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 60(2), pages 113-155, June.
    2. Irena Grosfeld & Claudia Senik, 2008. "The Emerging Aversion to Inequality: Evidence from Poland 1992-2005," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp919, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    3. Irena Grosfeld & Claudia Senik, 2010. "The emerging aversion to inequality," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 18(1), pages 1-26, January.
    4. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilak, 2014. "Subjective Well-being and Social Evaluation in a Poor Country," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-09, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    5. Grosfeld, Irena & Senik, Claudia, 2010. "The emerging aversion to inequality - Evidence from subjective data," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1006, CEPREMAP.
    6. Irena Grosfeld & Claudia Senik, 2009. "The emerging aversion to inequality - Evidence from long subjective data," Working Papers halshs-00586788, HAL.
    7. Nan Zou Bakkeli, 2020. "Older Adults’ Mental Health in China: Examining the Relationship Between Income Inequality and Subjective Wellbeing Using Panel Data Analysis," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 1349-1383, April.
    8. Proto, Eugenio & Rustichini, Aldo, 2012. "Life Satisfaction, Household Income and Personality Traits," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 988, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    9. Yamada, Katsunori & Sato, Masayuki, 2013. "Another avenue for anatomy of income comparisons: Evidence from hypothetical choice experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 35-57.
    10. Paul Welfens & Jens Perret & Deniz Erdem, 2010. "Global economic sustainability indicator: analysis and policy options for the Copenhagen process," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 153-185, August.
    11. Sacks, Daniel W. & Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being, Income, Economic Development and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 8048, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia & Yamada, Katsunori, 2017. "When experienced and decision utility concur: The case of income comparisons," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 1-9.
    13. Clément Bellet, 2017. "Essays on Inequality, Social Preferences and Consumer Behavior," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/vbu6kd1s68o, Sciences Po.
    14. Easterlin, Richard A. & Angelescu McVey, Laura & Switek, Malgorzata & Sawangfa, Onnicha & Zweig, Jacqueline Smith, 2011. "The Happiness-Income Paradox Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 5799, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian & Mohamad, Mohd Rosli & Kurniawan, Yohan & Sidek, Abdul Halim, 2014. "National Intelligence, Basic Human Needs, and Their Effect on Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 77267, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Van Landeghem, Bert & Vandeplas, Anneleen, 2018. "The relationship between status and happiness: Evidence from the caste system in rural India," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 62-71.
    17. Paola Giuliano & Paola Sapienza, 2020. "The Cost of Being Too Patient," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 110, pages 314-318, May.
    18. Eugenio Proto & Andrew J. Oswald, 2017. "National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2127-2152, September.
    19. Alpaslan Akay & Olivier Bargain & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2017. "Home Sweet Home?: Macroeconomic Conditions in Home Countries and the Well-Being of Migrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(2), pages 351-373.

    More about this item

    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:taf:jdevst:v:46:y:2010:i:3:p:506-534. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/FJDS20 .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Chris Longhurst (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/FJDS20 .

    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.