Date: 20 Aug 2011
Subjective Well-Being: Keeping Up with the Perception of the Joneses
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Using data from the US General Social Survey 1972–2004, we study the role of perceptions and status in self-reported happiness. Reference group income negatively relates to own happiness and high perceptions about own relative income, quality of dwelling, and social class relate positively and very significantly to happiness. Perceptions about income and status matter more for females, and for low income, conservative, more social, and less trusting individuals. Dwelling perceptions matter more for males, and for middle income, married, conservative, more social, and less trusting individuals.
The authors thank participants at the International Conference on Policies for Happiness in Sienna, the 76th Annual SEA Meetings, the 11th Texas Econometrics Camp, the 7th Annual Missouri Economics Conference, and seminar participants at Sam Houston State University and the University of Houston for their valuable comments and suggestions. Special thanks to Rainer Winkelmann.
Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (2000a). The rising well-being of the young. NBER Working Paper No. 6102.
Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (2000b). Well-being over time in Britain and the USA. NBER Working Paper No. 7787.
Clark, A. E., & Oswald, A. J. (1994). Unhappiness and unemployment. Economic Journal, 104 , 648–659.CrossRef
Clark, A .E., Frijters, P., & Shields, M. A. (2008). Relative income, happiness and utility: An explanation for the easterlin paradox and other puzzles. Journal of Economic Literature, 46, 95–144.CrossRef
Clark, A. E., Kristensen, N., & Westergård-Nielsen, N. (2009). Economic satisfaction and income rank in small neighbourhoods. Journal of the European Economic Association, 7, 519–527.CrossRef
Clark, A. E., & Oswald, A. J. (1996). Satisfaction and comparison income. Journal of Public Economics, 61, 359–381.CrossRef
Clark, A. E., & Senik, C. (2010). Who compares to whom? The anatomy of income comparisons in Europe. The Economic Journal, 120, 573–594.CrossRef
DiTella, R., Haisken-De-New, J., & MacCulloch, R. (2010). Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Forthcoming.
Duesenberry, J. (1949). Income, savings and the theory of consumer behaviour. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Easterlin, R. A. (1963). Towards a socio-economic theory of fertility: A survey of recent research on economic factors in American fertility. In S. J. Behrman, L. Corsa Jr., R.Freedman (Eds.), Fertility and family planning: A world vew, (pp. 127–156). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Easterlin, R. A. (1973). Relative economic status and the American fertility swing. In E. B. Sheldon (Ed.), Family economic behavior: Problems and prospects, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott for Institute of Life Insurance.
Freedman, D. S. (1963). The relation of economic status on fertility. American Economic Review, 53, 414–426.
Frey, S. B., & Stutzer, A. (2002). What can economists learn from happiness research. Journal of Economic Literature, 40, 402–435.CrossRef
Frijters, P., & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. (2003). How important Is methodology for the estimates of the determinants of happiness? The Economic Journal, 114, 641–659.
Gilbert, P., & Trower, P. (1990). The evolution and manifestation of social anxiety. In R. W. Crozier (Ed.), Shyness and embarrassment: Perspectives from social psychology, (pp. 144–177). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRef
Graham, C. (2004). Can happiness research contribute to development economics? Washington DC: The Brookings Institution.
Luttmer, E. (2005). Neighbors as negatives: Relative earnings and well-being. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120, 963–1002.
Moller, V. (1989). Can’t get no satisfaction. Indicator South Africa, 7, 43–46.
Oswald, J. A. (1997). Happiness and economic performance. Economic Journal, 107, 1815–1831.CrossRef
Rablen, M. D. (2008). Relativity, rank and the utility of income. The Economic Journal, 118, 801–821.CrossRef
Senik, C. (2009). Direct evidence on income comparison and their welfare effects. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Forthcoming.
Van Praag, B. M. S., & Kapteyn, A. (1973). Wat is Ons Inkomen Ons Waard? (How do we value our income?)Economisch Statistische Berichten, 58, 360–382.
Wachter, M. L. (1972). A labor supply model for secondary workers. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 54, 141–151.CrossRef
Wachter, M. L. (1974). A new approach to the equilibrium labor force. Economica, 41, 35–51.CrossRef
Winkelmann, R., Luechinger, S., & Stutzer, A. (2007a). The happiness gains from sorting and matching in the labor market. University of Zurich Working Paper.
Winkelmann, R., Boes, S. & Lipp, M. (2007b). Money illusion under test. Economics Letters, 94, 332–337.CrossRef
Winkelmann, R., Boes, S. & Staub, K. (2007c). The hidden cost of parental income: Why less may be more. University of Zurich Working Paper.
Wright, S. C. (1985). Health satisfaction: A detailed test of the multiple discrepancies theory model. Social Indicators Research, 17, 299–313.CrossRef
- Subjective Well-Being: Keeping Up with the Perception of the Joneses
Social Indicators Research
Volume 109, Issue 3 , pp 439-469
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Social comparison
- Industry Sectors