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Subjective Well-Being, Income and Economic Margins

  • Berlin, Martin


    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

  • Kaunitz, Niklas


    (Dept. of Economics, SU and Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

This paper uses the Swedish Level of Living Survey to study how satisfaction with living conditions and daily life covary with economic resources, in the cross-section and in a decade-long panel. We find that self-reported lack of economic margins is a powerful determinant of satisfaction, its magnitude being comparable even to that of marriage or cohabitation. In contrast, although income is positively associated with satisfaction, the relationship is less robust than for economic margins, and the estimated gradients vary substantially depending on the choice of satisfaction measure, income measure and model specification.

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Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 12/2011.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 18 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2011_012
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  1. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Clark, Andrew E. & Diener, Ed & Georgellis, Yannis & Lucas, Richard E., 2008. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0803, CEPREMAP.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Headey, Bruce & Wooden, Mark, 2004. "The Effects of Wealth and Income on Subjective Well-Being and Ill-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 1032, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Conchita D’Ambrosio & Joachim R. Frick & Markus Jäntti, 2009. "Satisfaction with Life and Economic Well-Being: Evidence from Germany," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(2), pages 283-295.
  6. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2006. "Money and Mental Wellbeing : A Longitudinal Study of Medium-Sized Lottery Wins," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 754, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2011. "Money and Happiness: Evidence from the Industry Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 5705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Johannesson, Magnus, 1997. "The Relationship between Happiness, Health and Socio-economic Factors: Results Based on Swedish Micro Data," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 207, Stockholm School of Economics.
  9. Baetschmann, Gregori & Staub, Kevin E. & Winkelmann, Rainer, 2011. "Consistent Estimation of the Fixed Effects Ordered Logit Model," IZA Discussion Papers 5443, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  11. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  12. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," IZA Discussion Papers 3654, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Daniel W. Sacks & Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being, Income, Economic Development and Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 3206, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. 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.
  15. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
  16. Bruce Headey & Ruud Muffels & Mark Wooden, 2008. "Money Does not Buy Happiness: Or Does It? A Reassessment Based on the Combined Effects of Wealth, Income and Consumption," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 65-82, May.
  17. Andersson, Pernilla, 2008. "Happiness and health: Well-being among the self-employed," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 213-236, February.
  18. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
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