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Job Satisfaction and Happiness: New Evidence from Japanese Union Workers

Author

Listed:
  • Adrian de la Garza

    (Yale University)

  • Atsushi Sannabe

    (Kyoto University)

  • Katsunori Yamada

    () (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Osaka University)

Abstract

This paper utilizes survey data of Japanese union workers to pro- vide new insights to the "happiness and economics" literature. A cru- cial item that distinguishes our empirical analyses from previous stud- ies is the use of data on workers' expectations of their peers' wages. With our data, we con rm that individuals report higher levels of subjective well-being (SWB) when they perceive that their wages are higher relative to their peers'. On the other hand, the traditional ap- proach in the literature constructs relative wages from Mincer equa- tions, thus presuming that individuals infer their peers' wages the way econometricians do. We argue that this method may be inappropriate. Moreover, we address the issue of endogeneity of our subjective refer- ence income measure employing an instrumental variables approach, and corroborate the causality from relative income to SWB. Addition- ally, we study the relationship between SWB measures and workers' individual characteristics, and compare our results with standard nd- ings in the literature for U.S. and European workers. In agreement with these studies, women and married individuals seem to be happier than their counterparts, men and single workers. However, we observe a U-shaped relationship between education and happiness, which con- trasts with ndings for U.S. and British workers. Finally, we attempt to explain these relationships in the context of the Japanese social background.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian de la Garza & Atsushi Sannabe & Katsunori Yamada, 2008. "Job Satisfaction and Happiness: New Evidence from Japanese Union Workers," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-10, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  • Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:0810
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    File URL: http://www2.econ.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/global/dp/0810.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-141, May.
    2. Hollander, Heinz, 2001. "On the validity of utility statements: standard theory versus Duesenberry's," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 227-249, July.
    3. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    4. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Money and mental wellbeing: A longitudinal study of medium-sized lottery wins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 49-60, January.
    5. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
    6. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen, 1988. "Job Switching and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 495-594.
    7. Clark, Andrew E., 1997. "Job satisfaction and gender: Why are women so happy at work?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 341-372, December.
    8. Yamada, Katsunori, 2008. "Macroeconomic implications of conspicuous consumption: A Sombartian dynamic model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 322-337, July.
    9. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "Conspicuous consumption, snobbism and conformism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 55-71, October.
    10. Kapteyn, Arie & Van Herwaarden, Floor G., 1980. "Interdependent welfare functions and optimal income distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 375-397, December.
    11. Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Systematic Errors and the Theory of Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 482-497, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Oshio, Takashi & Nozaki, Kayo & Kobayashi, Miki, 2010. "Relative income and happiness in Asia: Evidence from nationwide surveys in China, Japan, and Korea," PIE/CIS Discussion Paper 487, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. repec:spr:ariqol:v:13:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11482-017-9506-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Takashi Oshio & Kayo Nozaki & Miki Kobayashi, 2011. "Relative Income and Happiness in Asia: Evidence from Nationwide Surveys in China, Japan, and Korea," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 104(3), pages 351-367, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; relative utility; sub- jective reference income;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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