Rising Income Inequality During the Great Recession Had No Impact on Subjective Wellbeing in Europe, 2003–2012
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The Great Recession increased income inequality by an average of 6%. We assesses the impact of that on subjective wellbeing (happiness, life satisfaction). Data: European Quality of Life survey, 25 representative national samples at three time points, over 70,000 respondents. Analysis: variance-components multi-level models controlling for GDP per capita (an essential point) and individual-level predictors. Findings: income inequality has no statistically significant impact before, during, or after the Great Recession. Instead (contrary to much previous research) a straightforward individualistic utilitarian–materialist understanding is supported: money does increase wellbeing but inequality itself—the gap between rich and poor—is irrelevant.
KeywordsSubjective wellbeing Life satisfaction Happiness Utility Great Recession Inequality Europe Income GDP per capita Multi-level models Well-being Quality of life Socioeconomic development Income inequality Poverty
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