Economic shocks on subjective well-being: re-assessing the determinants of life-satisfaction after the 2008 financial crisis

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Journal of Happiness Studies


Aurelie Charles, Dongxu Wu and Zhongmin Wu

Publication date


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.

Volume and page numbers

20, 1041-1055





Social Groups, Psychology, Economics, Well Being, Finance and Social Psychology


Open Access; © The Author(s) 2018; This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.