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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Inequality and Social Rank: Income Increases Buy More Life Satisfaction in More Equal Countries
Author(s): Quispe-Torreblanca, Edika G
Brown, Gordon D A
Boyce, Christopher J
Wood, Alex M
De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel
Keywords: inequality
income rank
life satisfaction
social class
Issue Date: Apr-2021
Date Deposited: 24-Mar-2021
Citation: Quispe-Torreblanca EG, Brown GDA, Boyce CJ, Wood AM & De Neve J (2021) Inequality and Social Rank: Income Increases Buy More Life Satisfaction in More Equal Countries. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47 (4), pp. 519-539.
Abstract: How do income and income inequality combine to influence subjective well-being? We examined the relation between income and life satisfaction in different societies, and found large effects of income inequality within a society on the relationship between individuals’ incomes and their life satisfaction. The income–satisfaction gradient is steeper in countries with more equal income distributions, such that the positive effect of a 10% increase in income on life satisfaction is more than twice as large in a country with low income inequality as it is in a country with high income inequality. These findings are predicted by an income rank hypothesis according to which life satisfaction is derived from social rank. A fixed increment in income confers a greater increment in social position in a more equal society. Income inequality may influence people’s preferences, such that in unequal countries people’s life satisfaction is determined more strongly by their income.
DOI Link: 10.1177/0146167220923853
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
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