Relative Income and Subjective Well-Being of Urban Residents in China
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The purposes of this study are to examine subjective well-being and to test its correlation with social reference and self-expectations of urban residents in China. Data are obtained from the 2015 Chinese General Social Survey, and we focus on urban residents (N = 4857). Because the dependent variable is a sequence variable, the ordered logit model is used for data analysis. We find that absolute income remains an important factor in determining people’s subjective well-being. We also find that when relative income factors are included, the correlation between absolute income and subjective well-being is reduced. This suggests that the subjective well-being of urban residents is influenced not only by absolute income itself, but also—more importantly—by relative income based on social comparison and self-expectations. These findings have implications for the formulation of social policies to improve citizens’ happiness.
KeywordsSubjective well-being Relative income Social reference Self-expectation Urban residents
This study is supported by a grant from Beijing Institute of Psychology (Grant Number: 2017BJXLS08).
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We certify that the submission is our original work and not under review by any other publications. All the authors listed have approved the manuscript that is enclosed.
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