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Top incomes and human well-being around the world


  • Burkhauser, Richard V.
  • Neve, Jan-Emmanuel De
  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh


The share of income held by the top 1 percent in many countries around the world has been rising persistently over the last 30 years. But we continue to know little about how the rising top income shares affect human well-being. This study combines the latest data to examine the relationship between top income share and different dimensions of subjective well-being. We find top income shares to be significantly correlated with lower life evaluation and higher levels of negative emotional well-being, but not positive emotional well-being. The results are robust to household income, individual’s socio-economic status, and macroeconomic environment controls.

Suggested Citation

  • Burkhauser, Richard V. & Neve, Jan-Emmanuel De & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2016. "Top incomes and human well-being around the world," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66411, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:66411

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Top income; life evaluation; well-being; income inequality; World top income database; Gallup World Poll;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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