WWP Wellbeing Reading List News: February 2022

The Wellbeing Reading List News: February 2022

View the original WWP Wellbeing Reading List HERE

We asked the World Wellbeing Panel (WWP) panelists to nominate 5 relevant papers in the wellbeing literature that they believed should be added to our Wellbeing Reading List. The nominations are in, and from now until the end of 2022, we will disclose the 24 most-nominated papers.

Papers will be revealed two at a time, starting with those that had the fewest nominations and using the number of citations in 2021 (according to Google Scholar) when there are ties.

The Wellbeing Reading List is managed by WWP panelist Daniela Andrén (Örebro University) and the managing committee of the World Wellbeing Panel.

Please use the hashtag #WellbeingReadingList on social media to share and comment on the papers.

February 2022

Both papers this month are the first ones in the literature to examine the causal relationship between individual circumstances (income and relative income) and satisfaction.

Card, D., Mas, A., Moretti, E., & Saez, E. (2012). Inequality at work: The effect of peer salaries on job satisfaction. American Economic Review, 102, 2981-3003.
Total Google Scholar citations in 2021: 1040

This paper is the first to causally examine the importance of relative comparisons for workers’ satisfaction and their job search intentions. In contrast with the 20th paper on the Wellbeing Reading List, this one does not derive from a natural experiment. Instead the authors developed an experiment based on a randomized manipulation of access to information. The treatment group are those employees who were informed about the existence of a web page in which they could search for the pay of other university employees. Those employees with salaries below the median reported lower job and pay satisfaction as well as an increase in the likelihood of looking for a new job. Those with salaries above the median experienced no significant change in pay satisfaction or reported job search.

Frijters, P., Haisken-DeNew, J.P., & Shields, M.A. (2004). Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification. American Economic Review, 94, 730-740.
Total Google Scholar citations in 2021: 786

This paper was the first to examine the causal impact between income and life satisfaction in East Germany by exploiting the reunification of Germany. This unanticipated change provides an exogenous and large income increase in East Germany that allows the authors to estimate the causal impact of income on different outcomes. The methodology accounts for fixed individual traits. The authors document that household income increase by 60% between 1990 and 2001, explaining 35–40 percent of the within-covariates variation in life satisfaction. This is a substantial impact.

View the BEST/World Wellbeing Panel page HERE.