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Economic satisfaction and income rank in small neighbourhoods

  • Andrew E. Clark

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris)

  • Nicolai Kristensen

    (Danish Institute of Governmental Research - AKF, University of Aarhus - University of Aarhus)

  • Niels Westergård-Nielsen

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA, Danish Institute of Governmental Research - AKF, University of Aarhus - University of Aarhus)

We contribute to the literature on well-being and comparisons by appealing to new Danish data dividing the country up into around 9000 small neighbourhoods. Administrative data provides us with the income of every person in each of these neighbourhoods. This income information is matched to demographic and economic satisfaction variables from eight years of Danish ECHP data. Panel regression analysis shows that, conditional on own household income, respondents report higher satisfaction levels when their neighbours are richer. However, the individuals are rank-sensitive: conditional on own income and neighbourhood median income, individuals are more satisfied as their percentile neighbourhood ranking improves. A ten percentage point rise in rank (i.e. from 40 th to 20 th position in a 200-household cell) is worth 0.11 on a one to six scale, which is a large marginal effect in satisfaction terms.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00586254.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00586254
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  2. Geeta G. Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Community, Comparisons and Subjective Well-being in a Divided Society," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-21, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Damm, Anna Piil & Schultz-Nielsen, Marie Louise, 2008. "The Construction of Neighbourhoods and its Relevance for the Measurement of Social and Ethnic Segregation : Evidence from Denmark," Working Papers 08-17, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  4. Anne Bolster & Simon Burgess & Ron Johnston & Kelvyn Jones & Carol Propper & Rebecca Sarker, 2007. "Neighbourhoods, households and income dynamics: a semi-parametric investigation of neighbourhood effects," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, January.
  5. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang, 2010. "How’s the Job? Well-Being and Social Capital in the Workplace," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 205-227, January.
  6. Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
  7. 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.
  8. Brown, Gordon D. A. & Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J. & Qian, Jing, 2005. "Does Wage Rank Affect Employees' Wellbeing?," IZA Discussion Papers 1505, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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