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Income and Happiness: New Results from Generalized Threshold and Sequential Models

  • Boes, Stefan


    (University of Lucerne)

  • Winkelmann, Rainer


    (University of Zurich)

Empirical studies on the relationship between income and happiness commonly use standard ordered response models, the most well-known representatives being the ordered logit and the ordered probit. However, these models restrict the marginal probability effects by design, and therefore limit the analysis of distributional aspects of a change in income, that is, the study of whether the income effect depend on a person's happiness. In this paper we pinpoint the shortcomings of standard models and propose two alternatives, namely generalized threshold and sequential models. With data of two waves of the German Socio- Economic Panel, 1984 and 1997, we show that the more general models yield different marginal probability effects than standard models.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1175.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Social Indicators Research, 2010, 95 (1), 111-128
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1175
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Fabrice Etilé & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Claudia Senik & Karine Van Der Straeten, 2005. "Heterogeneity in reported wel-being: Evidence from twelve European countries," Post-Print halshs-00754095, HAL.
  2. 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.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 246, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  5. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  6. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  8. 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).
  9. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Valuing Public Goods: The Life Satisfaction Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1158, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Gardner, Jonathan & Andrew Oswald, 2002. "Does Money Buy Happiness? A Longitudinal Study Using Data on Windfalls," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 81, Royal Economic Society.
  12. Johannes Schwarze, 2003. "Using Panel Data on Income Satisfaction to Estimate Equivalence Scale Elasticity," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 49(3), pages 359-372, 09.
  13. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  14. Shields, Michael A. & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 2001. "Exploring the Economic and Social Determinants of Psychological and Psychosocial Health," IZA Discussion Papers 396, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  16. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Exploring the economic and social determinants of psychological well-being and perceived social support in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 513-537.
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