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Mobility, Uncertainty and Subjective Well-being in Hungary


  • György Molnár

    () (Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

  • Zsuzsa Kapitány

    () (Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)


In this paper subjective well-being measured by survey questions on life and material satisfaction is investigated. Our context is Hungary, between 2000 and 2002. We identify some basic variables that have important effect on how individuals perceive well-being in competitive pressure situation, namely, relative income mobility, subjective mobility, relative income position and subjective wealth position. We find that perception of changes in the relative income, wealth, and labour market positions, and the future prospects of these variables effect strongly on subjective well-being. Analysing the deviation between the objective and subjective trends of these variables and the reactions of households under these influences, we find that the objective trends of income and income mobility are very important with respect to satisfaction, but how people perceive their past relative income and income mobility, and their prospect of upward mobility in the future are what really determine satisfaction. The majority of respondents underestimate the real size of changes in their past financial positions, and the uncertainty of the competitive pressure situation is what really leads to this underestimation.

Suggested Citation

  • György Molnár & Zsuzsa Kapitány, 2006. "Mobility, Uncertainty and Subjective Well-being in Hungary," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0605, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, revised 13 Jun 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:has:discpr:0605

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    4. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    6. R. Bénabou & E. Ok, 2000. "Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
    7. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Selezneva, Ekaterina, 2011. "Surveying transitional experience and subjective well-being: Income, work, family," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 139-157, June.
    2. Aleksynska, Mariya, 2011. "Relative deprivation, relative satisfaction, and attitudes towards immigrants: Evidence from Ukraine," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 189-207, June.

    More about this item


    Mobility; Subjective Mobility; Subjective Well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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