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Relative concerns and sleep behavior

Alpaslan Akay, Peter Martinsson and Hilda Ralsmark

Economics & Human Biology, 2019, vol. 33, issue C, 1-14

Abstract: We investigate the relationship between relative concerns with respect to income and the quantity and quality of sleep using a 6-year panel dataset on the sleep behavior of people in Germany. We find a substantial negative association between relative income and number of hours of sleep and satisfaction with sleep, i.e., sleep quality, whereas there is no particular association between absolute level of income and sleep quantity and quality. A 10-percent increase in the income of relevant others is associated with 6–8 min decrease in a person's weekly amount of sleep on average, yet this effect is particularly strong among the relatively deprived, i.e., upward comparers, as this group shows a corresponding decrease in sleeping time of 10–12 min/week. These findings are highly robust to several specification checks, including measures of relative concerns, reference group, income inequality, and local price differences. The heterogeneity analysis reveals that the relationship is mainly driven by people with relatively fewer working hours, a higher demand for household production and leisure activities, and lower physical health and well-being.

Keywords: Relative income; Sleeping satisfaction; Hours of sleep (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C35 D60 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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