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Positional Concerns through the Life Cycle: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data and Survey Experiments

  • Akay, Alpaslan

    ()

    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    ()

    (University of Gothenburg)

This paper uses both subjective well-being and survey experimental data to analyze how people's positional concerns regarding income and goods vary with age. The subjective well-being approach is mainly based on German panel data for the period 1984-2009 (German Socio-Economic Panel), while the survey experimental approach is based on a tailor-made experimental design conducted among Swedish adults. Our analysis suggests that the degree of positional concerns is not homogenous across the life cycle. Our different analytical approaches show a robust life cycle pattern of positional concerns: young people experience no or a low degree of positional concerns, yet the level of concerns for income increases gradually and significantly with age. The results also differ across goods: while car consumption is similar to income, the positional concern for leisure time decreases through the life cycle.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6342.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6342
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