Social Indicators Research

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp 171–186 | Cite as

Perceived Social Policy Fairness and Subjective Wellbeing: Evidence from China

  • Feng Sun
  • Jing Jian XiaoEmail author


This study examined the relationship between perceived fairness of social policies and subjective well-being. Two types of policies examined were related to income distribution and social security. Subjective well-being was measured by work and life satisfaction. In addition, subjective well-beings between different income, age, and education groups in the context of perceived social justice were compared. With data from a random telephone survey conducted in Beijing, China among 2,113 respondents, findings from structural equation modeling indicate perceived fairness of social security and income distribution policies are positively associated with subjective well-being. After controlling for income, age, and education, the effect of income distribution fairness on work satisfaction was still positive and significant but had decreased in intensity, while the effect size on life satisfaction had changed little. Effects of social security fairness on both life and work satisfaction were still significant but had changed in different directions after adding demographic variables, in which the effect on life satisfaction had increased, while the effect on work satisfaction had decreased in size.


Subjective well-being Work satisfaction Life satisfaction Social policy fairness Social justice 



This research is supported by National Social Science Fund of China to Feng Sun for a project entitled “Research on Evaluation Indicators and Methods of People’s Life” (#10BJ006).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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