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Income Inequality and Subjective Wellbeing: Panel Data Evidence from China

Quanda Zhang and Sefa Awaworyi Churchill

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: Using four waves of longitudinal data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), we examine the effects of income inequality on subjective wellbeing (SWB). We take a dual approach in measuring income inequality, and thus, we examine the effects of inequality using province-level Gini coefficient as well as between-group inequality or identity-related inequality defined as the income gap between migrants without urban household registration identity (hukou) and urban residents. We find negative effects of both province-level income inequality and between-group income inequality on SWB, measured by life satisfaction. Our results also show that the effects of income inequality on SWB is stronger for rural hukou residents compared to urban hukou residents. These findings are robust to alternative ways of measuring SWB and income inequality. In addition, we find evidence suggesting that neighbourhood trust is an important channel through which income inequality operates to reduce SWB. We suggest policies that promote trust in communities with high inequality with a view of addressing the negative effects of inequality on SWB.

Keywords: Subjective wellbeing; Identity; Inequality; hukou; Life satisfaction; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-12-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna, nep-hap and nep-tra
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