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Inequality of Subjective Well-Being as a Comprehensive Measure of Inequality

Author

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  • Leonard Goff
  • John F. Helliwell
  • Guy Mayraz

Abstract

The link between happiness and overall inequality is best studied using an index that incorporates different aspects of inequality, and is measured consistently in different countries. One such index is the degree to which happiness itself varies among individuals. Its correlation with both happiness levels and social trust is substantially stronger than the corresponding correlation for income inequality. This remains so after allowing for bounded scale reporting, including a purely ordinal measure of dispersion. Moreover, the correlation is stronger for individuals who profess to care most about inequality. The link between happiness and inequality may thus be stronger than previously appreciated.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonard Goff & John F. Helliwell & Guy Mayraz, 2016. "Inequality of Subjective Well-Being as a Comprehensive Measure of Inequality," NBER Working Papers 21900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21900
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Welfare Costs of Well-being Inequality
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-03-29 19:01:40

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang & Shun Wang, 2016. "New Evidence on Trust and Well-being," NBER Working Papers 22450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fontaine, Xavier & Haywood, Luke, 2018. "On the comparison of group inequalities using subjective data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 17-21.
    3. Michal Brzezinski, 2019. "Diagnosing Unhappiness Dynamics: Evidence from Poland and Russia," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 20(7), pages 2291-2327, October.
    4. Jesús Peiró-Palomino, 2019. "Regional well-being in the OECD," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 17(2), pages 195-218, June.
    5. John F. Helliwell, 2019. "Measuring and Using Happiness to Support Public Policies," NBER Working Papers 26529, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • 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

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