Top Incomes and Human Well-being: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll

De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel, Powdthavee, Nattavudh and Burkhauser, Richard V. (2017) Top Incomes and Human Well-being: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll. Journal of Economic Psychology, 62. pp. 246-257.

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There is a growing concern within the social science community over the economic and social implications of the persistent rise in top income shares in the United States and in most other rich countries around the world over the last three decades. Although much of the recent economic research on the topic of income inequality has focused on the identification of the “Top 1 percent” and their dynamics over a long period of time (Atkinson, Piketty, & Saez, 2011; Burkhauser et al., 2012; Piketty & Saez 2014), we continue to know very little about the possible links between the rising share of national income accruing to the top 1 percent and aggregate subjective wellbeing (SWB). Does income inequality at the very top matter to the average life evaluation? What about the average emotional quality of everyday experience, that is, the frequency and intensity of experiences of joy, sadness, anger, and affection that make one’s life pleasant or unpleasant? In other words, are different dimensions of SWB correlated with the rising income shares of the richest individuals in their country? Although these are difficult questions, they are important to our understanding of the welfare implications of rising top income shares around the world.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Strategy, Top income, Life evaluation, Wellbeing, Income inequality, World Income Database, Gallup World Poll
Subject(s): Strategy
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2017 11:38
Date of author-version deposit: 2017
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2018 16:40
Funders: N/A

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