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Subjective Well-Being and Relative Deprivation: An Empirical Link

  • Conchita D'Ambrosio
  • Joachim R. Frick

This paper explores the relationship between two well-established con-cepts of measuring individual well-being: the concept of happiness, i.e. self-reported level of satisfaction with income and life, and relative deprivation/satisfaction, i.e. the gaps between the individual's income and the incomes of all individuals richer/poorer than him. Operationalizing both concepts using micro panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we provide empirical evidence for subjective well-being dependingmore on relative satisfaction than on absolute levels of income. This finding holds even after controlling for other influential factors in a multivariate setting.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.42570.de/dp449.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 449.

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Length: 22 p.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp449
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  1. Jean-Yves Duclos, 2000. "Gini Indices and the Redistribution of Income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 141-162, March.
  2. Weiss, Yoram & Fershtman, Chaim, 1998. "Social status and economic performance:: A survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 801-820, May.
  3. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2004. "Subjective Outcomes in Economics," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 2-11, July.
  4. Tsakloglou, Panos & Papadopoulos, Fotis, 2001. "Identifying Population Groups at High Risk of Social Exclusion: Evidence from the ECHP," IZA Discussion Papers 392, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Walter Bossert & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Vito Peragine, 2007. "Deprivation and Social Exclusion," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 777-803, November.
  6. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  7. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 1999. "The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction," IZA Discussion Papers 42, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-24, May.
  9. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  10. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Gregoire, Philippe, 2002. "Absolute and Relative Deprivation and the Measurement of Poverty," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(4), pages 471-92, December.
  11. Chakravarty, S. R. & Chakraborty, A. B., 1984. "On indices of relative deprivation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 14(2-3), pages 283-287.
  12. Hey, John D & Lambert, Peter J, 1980. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient: Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 567-73, November.
  13. Frick, Joachim R. & Goebel, Jan & Schechtman, Edna & Wagner, Gert G. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2004. "Using Analysis of Gini (ANoGi) for Detecting Whether Two Sub-Samples Represent the Same Universe: The SOEP Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 1049, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  15. Kakwani, Nanak, 1984. "The Relative Deprivation Curve and Its Applications: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 400-405, October.
  16. Rosen, Sherwin, 1984. "The Relative Deprivation Curve and Its Applications," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 395-97, October.
  17. Kakwani, Nanak, 1984. "The Relative Deprivation Curve and Its Applications," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 384-94, October.
  18. Schwarze, Johannes & Härpfer, Marco, 2003. "Are People Inequality Averse, and Do They Prefer Redistribution by the State? A Revised Version," IZA Discussion Papers 974, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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