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Beyond the Joneses: inter-country income comparisons and happiness

Leonardo Becchetti (), Stefano Castriota and Elena Giachin Ricca

No 82/2010, Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica from Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia

Abstract: Our paper provides some novel evidence on the burgeoning literature on life satisfaction and relative comparisons by showing that in the last 30 years comparisons with the wellbeing of top income countries have generated progressively more negative feelings on a large sample of individuals in the Eurobarometer survey. The paper contributes in two main directions: (i) it shows that countries, and not just neighbors, can be reference groups; (ii) it documents a globalization effect by which distant countries become progressively closer and comparisons among them more intense and relevant. Our findings may be interpreted in support of the well known hypothesis that migratory decisions are affected by the gap in economic wellbeing between origin and destination country since they document that such gap affects individual life satisfaction.

Keywords: life satisfaction; relative income; standard of living; comparisons. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 E01 I31 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 16 pages
Date: 2010-12-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap
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Related works:
Journal Article: Beyond the Joneses: Inter-country income comparisons and happiness (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Beyond the Joneses: Inter-country income comparisons and happiness (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Beyond the Joneses: inter-country income comparisons and happiness (2010) Downloads
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