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The Joneses in Japan: Income Comparisons and Financial Satisfaction

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  • Andrew Clark
  • Claudia Senik
  • Katsunori Yamada

Abstract

This paper uses Japanese data which includes measures of self-declared satisfaction, reference-group income, and the direction and intensity of income comparisons. Relative to Europeans, the Japanese compare more to friends and less to colleagues, and compare their incomes more. The relationship between satisfaction and others' income is negative, and more negative for those who report greater income comparison intensity. A self-reported measure of others' income does better than cell-mean income in explaining satisfaction, and would arguably make a useful addition to many existing surveys.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Clark & Claudia Senik & Katsunori Yamada, 2013. "The Joneses in Japan: Income Comparisons and Financial Satisfaction," ISER Discussion Paper 0866, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0866
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. HAURET Laetitia & WILLIAMS Donald R., 2018. "Time-in-Labour-Market and the Reference Group," LISER Working Paper Series 2018-02, LISER.
    2. Knell, Markus & Stix, Helmut, 2020. "Perceptions of inequality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    3. Andrew E. Clark, 2013. "Social comparisons, health and well-being," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00879776, HAL.
    4. Andrew E. Clark & Akiko Kamesaka & Teruyuki Tamura, 2015. "Rising aspirations dampen satisfaction," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(5), pages 515-531, October.
    5. Bucciol, Alessandro & Cavasso, Barbara & Zarri, Luca, 2015. "Social status and personality traits," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 245-260.
    6. Ana Maria Takahashi, 2014. "Job-related stress in academia: the role of relative deprivation, hours worked for different tasks, and children," Discussion Papers 1424, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    7. Tim Friehe & Mario Mechtel & Markus Pannenberg, 2014. "Positional Income Concerns: Prevalence and Relationship with Personality and Economic Preferences," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201411, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    8. Han Yu, 2020. "Income Comparison and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Self-Perceived Relative Income Data from China," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 636-672, October.
    9. HAURET Laetitia & WILLIAMS Donald R., 2017. "Choice of colleagues as reference group for wage comparison: does group composition matter?," LISER Working Paper Series 2017-10, LISER.
    10. Friehe, Tim & Mechtel, Mario, 2014. "Conspicuous consumption and political regimes: Evidence from East and West Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 62-81.
    11. 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.
    12. Laetitia Hauret & Donald R. Williams, 2019. "Relative Income and Pay Satisfaction: Further Evidence on the Role of the Reference Group," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 307-329, January.
    13. Alpaslan Akay & Gökhan Karabulut, 2020. "Personality and positionality-evidence from survey experiments with alternative goods," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 10(1), pages 123-156, March.
    14. Satya R. Chakravarty & Nachiketa Chattopadhyay & Jacques Silber, 2016. "A poverty line contingent on reference groups: implications for the extent of poverty in some Asian countries," Chapters, in: Jacques Silber & Guanghua Wan (ed.), The Asian ‘Poverty Miracle’, chapter 2, pages 30-50, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Bing Xu & Maxwell Pak, 2021. "Child-raising cost and fertility from a contest perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 186(1), pages 9-28, January.
    16. Chenghua Guan & Yingjie Qiu & Ruopeng An, 2019. "Relative Income and Life Satisfaction among Chinese Adults," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(20), pages 1-12, October.
    17. Takahashi, Ana Maria, 2016. "Job stress in Japanese academia: The role of relative income, time allocation by task, and children," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 12-17.
    18. Sun Youn Lee & Fumio Ohtake, 2018. "How Conscious Are You of Others? Further Evidence on Relative Income and Happiness," ISER Discussion Paper 1022, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.

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