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Ambition and jealousy. Income interactions in the "Old" Europe versus the "New" Europe and the United States

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  • Claudia Senik

    (UP4 - Université Paris-Sorbonne, PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

Abstract

Using individual-level data from a large number of countries, this paper examines how self-reported subjective well-being depends on own income and reference income, where reference income is defined as the income of professional peers. It uncovers a divide between "old" -low mobility- European countries versus "new" European post-Transition countries and the United States. Whereas in the old Europe, the income of my reference group exerts a negative effect on my individual welfare, it has a positive impact in the new Europe and the United States. This finding is interpreted as reflecting the relative importance of comparisons ("jealousy") versus information ("ambition"), which in turn depends on the degree of mobility and uncertainty in the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Senik, 2007. "Ambition and jealousy. Income interactions in the "Old" Europe versus the "New" Europe and the United States," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590828, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00590828
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00590828
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    panel data; income distribution; comparison income; subjective well-being; Transition; European Union; revenu relatif; inégalités; bien-être subjectif; données de panel; Union Européenne;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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