Reign in hell or serve in heaven?:A cross-country journey into the relative vs absolute perceptions of wellbeing

Corazzini, L., Esposito, L. and Majorano, F. (2012) Reign in hell or serve in heaven?:A cross-country journey into the relative vs absolute perceptions of wellbeing. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 81 (3). pp. 715-730. ISSN 0167-2681

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Abstract

Questionnaires exploring the relativist vs absolutist perception of wellbeing are administered to 3883 students in eight different countries, four low-income countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Kenya and Laos, 1924 respondents) and four high-income countries (Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, 1959 respondents). Our data reveal that wellbeing is perceived mainly in relative terms with the strength of relativism being higher for respondents in high-income countries. However, when the satisfaction of some 'basic needs' is at stake the absolutist concern becomes powerful. Personal characteristics such as gender and background of studies have a significant role in determining respondents' perception of wellbeing. Finally, additional insights emerge from our study. Interpersonal comparisons take place by looking both 'upward' and 'downward' along the income scale, not only income ranking but also the magnitude of reference incomes plays a role and the perception of wellbeing is more elastic to absolute rather than relative income.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: wellbeing perceptions,cross-country questionnaire study,survey experiment
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Literacy and Development Group
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Behavioural and Experimental Economics
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Education
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2013 16:48
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 08:44
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/43958
DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2010.12.016

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