Unifying Livability and Comparison Theory: Cross-National Time-Series Analysis of Life-Satisfaction
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The two major theories of QOL judgment – livability and comparison theories – are tested. The first states that only absolute level of objective variables will affect QOL, whereas the second states that only differences in objective variables will. A 25-year, 8-nation database was developed that allows more powerful tests than previous research. Consistent with previous studies and with livability theory, absolute level of GDP/person had the largest effect on life-satisfaction. Contrary to previous research, a reliable effect was also found for differences in GDP/person and the consumer price index. The length of these effects is 9 or 10 quarters. That is, consumers take into account changes as far back as 2 or 2 1/2 years, in addition to their absolute level of GDP/person.
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