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Well-being and inequality

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  • Böhnke, Petra
  • Kohler, Ulrich

Abstract

An objective and a subjective approach to study well-being is introduced. The objective approach is particularly useful to compare the quality of life of given societies across time and space. Using the objective approach, we can identify strong differences of quality of life between European countries. In comparison to Western Europe, East European countries tend to have a rather low quality of life. Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium form a cluster of countries with high quality of life. The subjective approach to study well-being is useful for investigating the importance of dimensions of social inequality for people themselves. It is shown that most of the inequality dimensions traditionally analysed by social scientists affect people's subjective well-being. However, it is also shown that some of the more materialistic inequality dimensions (such as income) tend to be less important in rich societies, while certain non-materialistic dimensions (such as family) are getting more important. The subjective approach to study well-being is also used to investigate the importance of characteristics of societies for people's well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Böhnke, Petra & Kohler, Ulrich, 2008. "Well-being and inequality," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2008-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbisi:spi2008201
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Piper, 2015. "Europe’s Capital Cities and the Happiness Penalty: An Investigation Using the European Social Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 103-126, August.
    2. Johannes Vatter, 2012. "Well-Being in Germany: What Explains the Regional Variation?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 435, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Elif Kısar Koramaz, 2014. "The Spatial Context of Social Integration," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 49-71, October.
    4. Bruno Martorano & Luisa Natali & Chris De Neubourg & Jonathan Bradshaw, 2013. "Children’s Subjective Well-being in Rich Countries," Papers inwopa686, Innocenti Working Papers.
    5. Johannes Vatter, 2012. "Well-Being in Germany: GDP and Unemployment Still Matter," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 196, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
    6. Vatter, Johannes, 2012. "Well-being in Germany: What explains the regional variation?," FZG Discussion Papers 50, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    7. Jan Delhey, 2010. "From Materialist to Post-Materialist Happiness? National Affluence and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Cross-National Perspective," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 97(1), pages 65-84, May.
    8. Rackow, Katja & Schupp, Jürgen & Scheve, Christian von, 2012. "Angst und Ärger: Zur Relevanz emotionaler Dimensionen sozialer Ungleichheit," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 392-409.

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