Reference Dependent Financial Satisfaction over the Course of the Celtic Tiger: A Panel Analysis Utilising the Living in Ireland Survey 1994-2001
The link between income and subjective satisfaction with one’s financial situation is explored in this paper using a panel analysis of 4,000 individuals tracked through the course of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ boom period, 1994-2001. The impact of the level of individual and household income, the time-path of income and the impact of reference group income on financial satisfaction are all considered. To the extent that income influences financial satisfaction, there is strong evidence from this paper that household income has a greater effect on financial satisfaction than individual income. There is also evidence that changes in income have an independent effect on financial satisfaction with the time derivative of income entering positively in the financial satisfaction equation. Thus, our paper gives further evidence to support the hypothesis that individuals process changes as well as absolute levels of income. While reference group income has a negative effect at the start of the period it has no effect at the end.
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