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Relative deprivation, reference groups and the assessment of standard of living

  • Silber, Jacques
  • Verme, Paolo

This paper proposes two new indices of relative deprivation, derived from an extension of the concept of the generalized Gini for the measurement of distributional change. Population- and income-weighted relative deprivation indices are then defined and, using panel data from the Consortium of Household Panels for European Socio-Economic Research, this paper checks which of the various ways of defining individual deprivation best fits the answers given by individuals on the degree of their satisfaction with income. The analysis finds that the deprivation indices proposed are consistently and negatively correlated with income satisfaction as reported by respondents, that income weighted measures fit better than population weighted measures, and that this fit improves with countries that experienced deep institutional changes such as the transitional economies of Eastern Europe.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5930.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5930
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  1. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0907, CEPREMAP.
  2. BOSSERT, Walter & D'AMBROSIO, Conchita, 2004. "Reference Groups and Individual Deprivation," Cahiers de recherche 2004-10, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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  4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2008:i:9:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Jacques SILBER & Michal Weber, 2008. "The Generalized Gini index and the measurement of income mobility," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(9), pages 1-7.
  6. Berrebi, Z M & Silber, Jacques, 1985. "Income Inequality Indices and Deprivation: A Generalization [Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 807-10, August.
  7. Kohei Kawamura, 2008. "Inequality, Happiness and Relative Concerns: What Actually is their Relationship?," ESE Discussion Papers 182, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  8. Bernard M.S. Van Praag, 2010. "Well-being Inequality and Reference Groups - An Agenda for New Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 2984, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  10. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1980. "A single-parameter generalization of the Gini indices of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-86, February.
  11. Hey, John D & Lambert, Peter J, 1980. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient: Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 567-73, November.
  12. Paolo Verme, 2010. "Relative labour deprivation and urban migration in Turkey," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 391-408, December.
  13. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  14. Ed Hopkins, 2008. "Inequality, happiness and relative concerns: What actually is their relationship?," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 351-372, December.
  15. Paolo Verme & Rima Izem, 2008. "Relative Deprivation with Imperfect Information," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(7), pages 1-9.
  16. Kakwani, Nanak, 1984. "The Relative Deprivation Curve and Its Applications," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 384-94, October.
  17. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  18. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1982. "Relative deprivation and economic welfare," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 99-113.
  19. Larry Samuelson, 2004. "Information-Based Relative Consumption Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 93-118, 01.
  20. Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2009. "Who compares to whom? The anatomy of income comparisons in Europe," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586036, HAL.
  21. Kakwani, Nanak, 1984. "The Relative Deprivation Curve and Its Applications: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 400-405, October.
  22. Luis Rayo & Gary S. Becker, 2007. "Habits, Peers, and Happiness: An Evolutionary Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 487-491, May.
  23. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-24, May.
  24. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
  25. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
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