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Faster, higher, stronger… and happier? Relative achievement and marginal rank effects

Paul Dolan, Chloe Foy, Georgios Kavetsos () and Laura Kudrna

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2021, vol. 95, issue C

Abstract: Most prior research on the relationship between relative attainment and subjective wellbeing focuses on relative income. The direction of this relationship may, however, be positive or negative. Defining the target comparison group can be challenging. This study focuses on a sample where ‘relative others’ are especially salient – Olympic athletes – and investigates relative achievement using a different ‘currency’ – medals. While prior research shows that bronze are happier than silver medallists, we find no difference unless there is a relatively close race at the bottom of the podium in the competition between silver, bronze, and fourth. A nuanced distributional approach can be used to explore marginal rank effects.

Keywords: Happiness; Relative status; Counterfactual thinking; Olympic games (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:soceco:v:95:y:2021:i:c:s2214804321001014

DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2021.101761

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Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics) is currently edited by Pablo Brañas Garza

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