Income-Comparison Attitudes in the Us and the UK: Evidence from Discrete-Choice Experiments

47 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2016 Last revised: 3 Mar 2016

See all articles by Hitoshi Shigeoka

Hitoshi Shigeoka

Simon Fraser University (SFU); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Katsunori Yamada

Kindai University, Faculty of Economics; Osaka University - Institute of Social and Economic Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

Economists have long been aware of utility externalities such as a tendency to compare own income with others'. If welfare losses from income comparisons are significant, any governmental interventions that alter such attitudes may have large welfare consequences. We conduct an original online survey of discrete-choice questions to estimate such attitudes in the US and the UK. We find that the UK respondents compare incomes more than US respondents do. We then manipulate our respondents with simple information to examine whether the attitudes can be altered. Our information treatment suggesting that comparing income with others may diminish welfare even when income levels increase makes UK respondents compare incomes more rather than less. Interestingly, US respondents are not affected at all. The mechanism behind the UK results seems to be that our treatment gives moral license to make income comparisons by providing information that others do so.

Suggested Citation

Shigeoka, Hitoshi and Yamada, Katsunori, Income-Comparison Attitudes in the Us and the UK: Evidence from Discrete-Choice Experiments (February 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w21998, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2736074

Hitoshi Shigeoka (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada
(778)782-5348 (Phone)
(778)782-5348 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/hshigeoka/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Katsunori Yamada

Kindai University, Faculty of Economics ( email )

Higashi-Osaka City, Osaka 577-8502
Japan

HOME PAGE: http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~kyamada/

Osaka University - Institute of Social and Economic Research ( email )

6-1, Mihogaoka
Ibaraki, Osaka 567-0047
Japan

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
5
Abstract Views
167
PlumX Metrics