Thompson Rivers University

Want to be happier? Don’t compare your income with others

November 25, 2015

Dr. Latif, Associate Professor of Economics at Thompson Rivers University, used data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey (1994–2009), to examine the relationship between comparison income and individual happiness. His study utilizes two definitions of comparison income: Average income of the reference group and the difference between one’s own household income and the average income of the reference group. His statistical analysis reveals that an increase in the average income of the reference group reduces individual happiness and that an individual’s happiness increases when his/her own household income becomes larger in comparison to the average income of the reference group. Comparing income has a significant negative impact on an individual’s happiness level. Recently, his research entitled “Happiness and Comparison Income: Evidence from Canada” was published in the the Journal Social Indicators Research .

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