Income inequality and subjective well-being: A cross-national study on the conditional effects of individual and national characteristics
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SourceSocial Indicators Research, 113, 3, (2013), pp. 1009-1023
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
Social Indicators Research
SubjectInequality Cohesion Rationalization; Ongelijkheid Cohesie Rationalisatie
In this study we raise the question how a nation’s income inequality affects subjective well-being. Using information on 195,091 individuals from 85 different countries from the World Value Surveys and the European Value Surveys, we established that in general, people living in more unequal countries report higher well-being than people from more equal countries. This association however does not apply to all people similarly. First, the positive effect of a nation’s income inequality is weaker when individuals express more social and institutional trust, and underscore egalitarian norms to a larger extent. Second, the positive association between national income inequality and subjective well-being is less strong for people from countries with high levels of social and institutional trust. So, our research predominantly indicates that there are far-reaching effects of an individual’s and a nation’s trust on people’s well-being.
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