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Happiness, and the Importance of Social Class

Zani, Steven LU (2012) EKHR01 20121
Department of Economic History
Lund University School of Economics and Management, LUSEM
Abstract
Happiness research generally claims that money is not important for happiness. Money is often studied by happiness economists in the form of income. However, there are reasons why income can be considered an imperfect measure of economic well-being. For example, it does not account for wealth or even consumption—and this is just to cite strictly economic examples. There are also other aspects of life that involve money in a less direct way, such as social class lifestyle and opportunities given not just by wealth or income but by class-based social networks. Thus, it appears that money may indeed be important, but through the multifaceted nature of social class.
This thesis uses OLS on a pooled cross-section and Fixed Effects GLS with... (More)
Happiness research generally claims that money is not important for happiness. Money is often studied by happiness economists in the form of income. However, there are reasons why income can be considered an imperfect measure of economic well-being. For example, it does not account for wealth or even consumption—and this is just to cite strictly economic examples. There are also other aspects of life that involve money in a less direct way, such as social class lifestyle and opportunities given not just by wealth or income but by class-based social networks. Thus, it appears that money may indeed be important, but through the multifaceted nature of social class.
This thesis uses OLS on a pooled cross-section and Fixed Effects GLS with panel data from the United States General Social Survey (GSS) to determine the importance of social class in happiness research. An important distinction from other works, is the comparison of groups identified by self-reported social class. Most research in this area identifies groups by income bracket, a process that does not account for wealth, consumption, or the added indirect effects of money that occur within the “culture” of a given social class. In this thesis, a comparison between social class effects and income group effects has shown social class to be important while income groups are insignificant.
The main conclusions are that social class is indeed important--more than income alone which is not found to be significant. Also, it has been shown that there is a large divergence of response to the same variables by each different class. This suggests that different subjective characteristics are possessed by each class—a finding that supports the idea that there is an added indirect effect generated by money (or the absence of money) within a given social class. (Less)
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author
Zani, Steven LU
supervisor
organization
course
EKHR01 20121
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
happiness, subjective well being, subjective well-being, social class, lower class, working class, middle class, upper class, income group, money, income
language
English
id
3346805
date added to LUP
2013-01-15 11:18:38
date last changed
2013-01-15 11:18:38
@misc{3346805,
  abstract     = {Happiness research generally claims that money is not important for happiness. Money is often studied by happiness economists in the form of income. However, there are reasons why income can be considered an imperfect measure of economic well-being. For example, it does not account for wealth or even consumption—and this is just to cite strictly economic examples. There are also other aspects of life that involve money in a less direct way, such as social class lifestyle and opportunities given not just by wealth or income but by class-based social networks. Thus, it appears that money may indeed be important, but through the multifaceted nature of social class.
This thesis uses OLS on a pooled cross-section and Fixed Effects GLS with panel data from the United States General Social Survey (GSS) to determine the importance of social class in happiness research. An important distinction from other works, is the comparison of groups identified by self-reported social class. Most research in this area identifies groups by income bracket, a process that does not account for wealth, consumption, or the added indirect effects of money that occur within the “culture” of a given social class. In this thesis, a comparison between social class effects and income group effects has shown social class to be important while income groups are insignificant.
The main conclusions are that social class is indeed important--more than income alone which is not found to be significant. Also, it has been shown that there is a large divergence of response to the same variables by each different class. This suggests that different subjective characteristics are possessed by each class—a finding that supports the idea that there is an added indirect effect generated by money (or the absence of money) within a given social class.},
  author       = {Zani, Steven},
  keyword      = {happiness,subjective well being,subjective well-being,social class,lower class,working class,middle class,upper class,income group,money,income},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Happiness, and the Importance of Social Class},
  year         = {2012},
}