New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2011‒03‒19
two papers chosen by

  1. Keeping up with the Joneses by finding a better-paid job - The effect of relative income on job mobility By Kronenberg, Kristin; Kronenberg, Tobias
  2. The role of socio-demographic factors on self-rated happiness: The case of Malaysia By Cheah, Yong Kang; Tang, Chor Foon

  1. By: Kronenberg, Kristin; Kronenberg, Tobias
    Abstract: It has been shown that a person’s relative income – compared to a reference group – has a negative impact on self-reported happiness. This suggests that people who aim at increasing their happiness should try to find a better-paid job if their relative income is low. In this paper we study this hypothesis by estimating the effect of relative income on job mobility, using a dataset containing information on roughly four million Dutch employees. We consider three different reference groups: people who live in the same neighborhood, people who work for the same employer, and people who share certain demographic characteristics. Our findings suggest that workers compare their own income to that of their neighbors, and low relative income is associated with higher job mobility. We conclude that low relative income (compared to the neighbors) reduces workers’ happiness, and workers react to this by finding a new job which may offer the prospect of higher pay.
    Keywords: Relative income; job mobility; happiness; social status
    JEL: J62 D10 R23
    Date: 2011–03–08
  2. By: Cheah, Yong Kang; Tang, Chor Foon
    Abstract: This study examines the role of socio-demographic determinants on individual’s level of happiness. Primary survey data on Penang, Malaysia is used for analysis. Based on the findings, being married and Malay are associated with higher probability of feeling very happy or happy. Nevertheless, individuals who suffer from chronic diseases are more likely to have unhappy or very unhappy feelings. The rest of the factors such as income, education, age, gender, and employment status are found to have insignificant effects on happiness. Several policy implications can be recommended based on the outcomes.
    Keywords: Education; Health; Happiness; Income; Malaysia; Well-being
    JEL: I31 D60
    Date: 2011–03–08

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