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Well-being Inequality and Reference Groups - An Agenda for New Research

  • Bernard M.S. Van Praag

It is argued that the concept of well –being inequality cannot be properly defined without taking the referencing process into account. The reference effect depends on how frequently individuals compare with others and on the degree of social transparency in society. In this paper we employ the reference- extended model for incorporating the concept of happiness inequality in happiness studies.We plead for an extension of the present happiness paradigm by setting up a new additional agenda for empirical research in order to get quantified knowledge about the referencing process.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2984.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2984
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  1. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff & Sara Kleyer & Philipp Bleninger, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 889, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
  3. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Bernard M.S. Van Praag, 2002. "Income Satisfaction Inequality and its Causes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-014/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative income, happiness, and utility: An explanation for the Easterlin paradox and other puzzles," Post-Print halshs-00754299, HAL.
  5. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  6. Alois Stutzer, . "The Role of Income Aspirations in Individual Happiness," IEW - Working Papers 124, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Claudia Senik, 2008. "Direct evidence on income comparisons and their welfare effects," PSE Working Papers halshs-00588023, HAL.
  8. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  9. Hagenaars, Aldi J M & van Praag, Bernard M S, 1985. "A Synthesis of Poverty Line Definitions," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 31(2), pages 139-54, June.
  10. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, 05.
  11. 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.
  12. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
  14. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
  15. Wunder, Christoph & Wiencierz, Andrea & Schwarze, Johannes & Küchenhoff, Helmut & Kleyer, Sara & Bleninger, Philipp, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4155, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Van Praag, Bernard M.S., 1977. "The perception of welfare inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 189-207.
  17. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Kapteyn, Arie & Van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Van Herwaarden, Floor G., 1978. "Individual welfare functions and social reference spaces," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 173-177.
  19. Christoph Wunder & Andrea Wiencierz & Johannes Schwarze & Helmut Küchenhoff & Sara Kleyer & Philipp Bleninger, 2009. "Well-Being over the Life Span: Semiparametric Evidence from British and German Longitudinal Data," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 179, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  20. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  21. Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
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