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Ambition and jealousy. Income Interactions in the "old" Europe versus The "New" Europe and the United States

  • Senik, Claudia

This paper asks how income distribution affects individual well-being and tries to explore the idea that this relation depends on the degree of mobility and uncertainty in the economy. It mostly concentrates on the relation between satisfaction and reference income (defined as the income of one’s professional peers), and hinges on the micro-econometric analysis of household survey data (mostly panel), including subjective attitudinal questions. Using over one million observations, it uncovers a divide, in the perception of income inequality, between “old” -low mobility- European countries on the one hand, and “new” European post-Transition countries and the United States, on the other hand. Whereas “jealousy” is dominant in the former, “ambition” is even stronger in the latter.

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Paper provided by CEPREMAP in its series CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) with number 0510.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:0510
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  1. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert J. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 615, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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  3. repec:pse:psecon:2006-12 is not listed on IDEAS
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  6. 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.
  7. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000283, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1994. "Satisfaction and comparison income," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9408, CEPREMAP.
  9. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  10. Benabou, R. & Ok, E.A., 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," Working Papers 98-23, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  11. Claudia Senik, 2008. "Ambition and Jealousy: Income Interactions in the 'Old' Europe versus the 'New' Europe and the United States," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 495-513, 08.
  12. Frank, Robert H, 1997. "The Frame of Reference as a Public Good," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1832-47, November.
  13. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1997. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," Working Papers 97-37, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  14. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1936, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  15. 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.
  16. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  18. van de Stadt, Huib & Kapteyn, Arie & van de Geer, Sara, 1985. "The Relativity of Utility: Evidence from Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(2), pages 179-87, May.
  19. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't the US Have a European-Style Welfare System?," NBER Working Papers 8524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Cooper, Ben & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Funk, Peter, 2001. "Status Effects and Negative Utility Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 642-65, July.
  21. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz, . "Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy," IEW - Working Papers 135, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  22. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
  23. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
  24. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  25. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  26. Hirschman, Albert O., 1973. "The changing tolerance for income inequality in the course of economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 1(12), pages 29-36, December.
  27. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2003. "Fairness and Redistribution: U.S. versus Europe," NBER Working Papers 9502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2301, The World Bank.
  29. Francesco Daveri & Olmo Silva, . "Not Only Nokia," Working Papers 222, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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