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Job Satisfaction and Happiness: New Evidence from Japanese Union Workers

Adrián de la Garza, Atsushi Sannabe and Katsunori Yamada ()
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Atsushi Sannabe: Kyoto University

No 08-10, Discussion Papers in Economics and Business from Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics

Abstract: This paper utilizes survey data of Japanese union workers to pro- vide new insights to the "happiness and economics" literature. A cru- cial item that distinguishes our empirical analyses from previous stud- ies is the use of data on workers' expectations of their peers' wages. With our data, we con rm that individuals report higher levels of subjective well-being (SWB) when they perceive that their wages are higher relative to their peers'. On the other hand, the traditional ap- proach in the literature constructs relative wages from Mincer equa- tions, thus presuming that individuals infer their peers' wages the way econometricians do. We argue that this method may be inappropriate. Moreover, we address the issue of endogeneity of our subjective refer- ence income measure employing an instrumental variables approach, and corroborate the causality from relative income to SWB. Addition- ally, we study the relationship between SWB measures and workers' individual characteristics, and compare our results with standard nd- ings in the literature for U.S. and European workers. In agreement with these studies, women and married individuals seem to be happier than their counterparts, men and single workers. However, we observe a U-shaped relationship between education and happiness, which con- trasts with ndings for U.S. and British workers. Finally, we attempt to explain these relationships in the context of the Japanese social background.

Keywords: subjective well-being; relative utility; sub- jective reference income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C25 D00 J28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 40 pages
Date: 2008-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-hap, nep-lab, nep-ltv and nep-soc
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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