Economic Shocks on Subjective Well-Being: Re-assessing the Determinants of Life-Satisfaction After the 2008 Financial Crisis

Aurelie Charles, Dongxu Wu, Zhongmin Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The paper investigates the extent to which life-satisfaction is biased by peer-comparison by looking at the relative value attached to the different domains of life-satisfaction, as suggested by Easterlin (Economics and happiness: framing the analysis, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005), by social group. We postulate that group membership influences the ranking of the satisfaction domains affecting subjective well-being which allows individuals to go back to their individual threshold over time. Using ordered probit models with random effects, the evidence for professional (self-employed vs. employee) and social (male vs. female) groups using the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society—UK Household Longitudinal Study from 1996 to 2014 shows that the ranking of the satisfaction domains is group-based suggesting a “keeping up with the Joneses” effect linked to the housing bubble.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1055
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number4
Early online date17 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019



  • Financial crisis
  • Group behaviour
  • Panel data
  • Subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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