Social Indicators Research

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 227–254 | Cite as

Satisfaction with Job and Income Among Older Individuals Across European Countries

  • Eric Bonsang
  • Arthur van Soest


Using data on individuals of age 50 and older from 11 European countries, we analyze two economic aspects of subjective well-being of older Europeans: satisfaction with household income, and job satisfaction. Both have been shown to contribute substantially to overall well-being (satisfaction with life or happiness). We use anchoring vignettes to correct for potential differences in response scales across countries. The results highlight a large variation in self-reported income satisfaction, which is partly explained by differences in response scales. When differences in response scales are eliminated, the cross-country differences are quite well in line with differences in an objective measure of purchasing power of household income. There are common features in the response scale differences in job satisfaction and income satisfaction. French respondents tend to be critical in both assessments, while Danish and Dutch respondents are always on the optimistic end of the spectrum. Moreover, correcting for response scale differences decreases the cross-country association between satisfaction with income and job satisfaction among workers.


Anchoring vignettes Response scale differences Ageing 



We are grateful to two anonymous referees, Teresa Bago d’Uva, Didier Fouarge, Hendrik Juerges, Raymond Montizaan, and participants of the final COMPARE conference in Brussels for useful comments. This paper was written as part of the project COMPARE, funded by the European Commission through its 6th framework (project number CIT5-CT-2005-028857). Data collection and infrastructure for making data available to researchers was mainly funded by the European Commission through several SHARE related projects in the 5th and 6th framework programmes (CIT5-CT-2005-028857, QLK6-CT-2001-00360; RII-CT-2006-062193). Additional funding was provided by the US National Institute on Aging (grant numbers U01 AG09740-13S2; P01 AG005842; P01 AG08291; P30 AG12815; Y1-AG-4553-01; OGHA 04-064; R21 AG025169) and various national sources (see for a full list of funding institutions).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 139 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ROA, Maastricht University, NetsparMeteorMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Netspar, Tilburg UniversityRANDTilburgThe Netherlands

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