Inequality of Subjective Well-Being as a Comprehensive Measure of Inequality

38 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2016

See all articles by Leonard Goff

Leonard Goff

Columbia University, Department of Economics

John F. Helliwell

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Guy Mayraz

Department of Economics, University of Melbourne; CIFAR

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

The link between happiness and overall inequality is best studied using an index that incorporates different aspects of inequality, and is measured consistently in different countries. One such index is the degree to which happiness itself varies among individuals. Its correlation with both happiness levels and social trust is substantially stronger than the corresponding correlation for income inequality. This remains so after allowing for bounded scale reporting, including a purely ordinal measure of dispersion. Moreover, the correlation is stronger for individuals who profess to care most about inequality. The link between happiness and inequality may thus be stronger than previously appreciated.

Suggested Citation

Goff, Leonard and Helliwell, John F. and Mayraz, Guy, Inequality of Subjective Well-Being as a Comprehensive Measure of Inequality (January 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w21900, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2721741

Leonard Goff (Contact Author)

Columbia University, Department of Economics ( email )

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John F. Helliwell

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Guy Mayraz

Department of Economics, University of Melbourne ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.mayraz.com

CIFAR ( email )

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