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Job Satisfaction and Happiness: New Evidence from Japanese Union Workers

  • Adrian de la Garza

    (Yale University)

  • Atsushi Sannabe

    (Kyoto University)

  • Katsunori Yamada

    ()

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

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.

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File URL: http://www2.econ.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/global/dp/0810.pdf
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Paper provided by Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP) in its series Discussion Papers in Economics and Business with number 08-10.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:0810
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.osaka-u.ac.jp/
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Richard B. Freeman, 1977. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," NBER Working Papers 0225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  5. Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Systematic Errors and the Theory of Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 482-97, June.
  6. Andrew Clark, . "Job Satisfaction and Gender. Why are Women so Happy at Work?," Economics Discussion Papers 415, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "Conspicuous consumption, snobbism and conformism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 55-71, October.
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