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Community, comparisons and subjective well-being in a divided society

[journal article]

Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi; Knight, John

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-199595

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Abstract Using South African data, the paper poses six questions about the determinants of subjective well-being. Much of the paper is concerned with the role of relative concepts. We find that comparator income, when measured as the average income of others in the local residential cluster, enters the household's utility function positively (close neighbors are 'positives', not 'negatives'), but that the income of more distant others enters negatively. Race-based comparator groups are also important in racially divided South Africa. Relative income is more important to happiness at higher levels of absolute income. Potential explanations and implications of these results are considered.
Classification General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories; Macrosociology, Analysis of Whole Societies
Free Keywords Subjective well-being; Happiness; Comparator groups; Altruism; Envy; Relative deprivation; Standard-setting; Race; South Africa
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 69-90
Journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 64 (2007) 1
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2007.03.004
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)