“Subjective Well-Being and Its Determinants in Rural China”

School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
China Economic Review (Impact Factor: 0.94). 12/2009; 20(4):635-649. DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2008.09.003
Source: RePEc


A national household survey for 2002, containing a specially designed module on subjective well-being, is used to estimate pioneering happiness functions in rural China. The variables that are predicted by economic theory to be important for happiness prove to be relatively unimportant. Our analysis suggests that we need to draw on psychology and sociology if we are to understand. Rural China is not a hotbed of dissatisfaction with life, possibly because most people are found to confine their reference groups to the village. Relative income within the village and relative income over time, both in the past and expected in the future, are shown to be important for current happiness, whereas current income is less so. Even amidst the poverty of rural China, attitudes, social comparisons and aspirations influence subjective well-being. The implications of the findings for the future and for policy are considered.

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    • "Focussing on work-related reference groups, 30%-40% of respondents regard comparisons as essential (values 5 to 7), and roughly two-thirds of them perceive to earn about the same (value 3) than colleagues or other people in the respondent's occupation, while about a quarter perceives to earn less (value 1 and 2). Hence, individuals define the intervals they use to compare income rather broadly in Germany, as is the case in other countries (Knight 2009, Guven/Sørensen 2012 "
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    ABSTRACT: This note provides evidence for the relationship between income comparisons and subjective well-being (SWB), using novel German data on self-reported comparison intensity and perceived relative income for seven reference groups. We find negative correlations between comparison intensity and SWB for colleagues, people in the same occupation and friends, but not for other reference groups, such as neighbours. Work-related income comparisons are mostly upwards and there is a strong negative correlation between perceiving to earn less than the reference group and SWB.
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    • "In turn, this might have resulted in a difference in CRP concentration by migratory status. Using data from 2002, Knight et al. (2009) reported that in rural China dissatisfaction with life was not widespread , despite the relative poverty and low socioeconomic status in Chinese society. They suggested that this might be because people in rural China had limited information sets and narrow reference groups (i.e., individuals with whom a person believes him/herself to be comparable), and expected their income to rise in the future, which kept them relatively content. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Earlier fieldwork in rural areas of Hainan Island, China, demonstrated that during the course of economic development increasing differences had emerged in lifestyles within communities. It is possible that these variations might have stratified residents into subpopulations with different health attributes. This study examined the association between C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration, a biomarker of future cardiovascular events, and personal lifestyle parameters and the degree of community-level economic development among rural communities.MethodsA cross-sectional field survey was undertaken in 19 rural communities in Hainan. Convenience sampling was used to recruit 1,744 participants. Dried blood spot samples were collected to measure high-sensitivity CRP concentration. Sex-stratified multilevel regression analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with CRP concentration among the participants.ResultsWhile CRP concentration was negatively associated with being married and (more) education among men, for women CRP concentration was associated with the frequency of poultry consumption (P = 0.014) and the experience of migratory work in the previous year (P = 0.009). In addition, for females, living in communities with a greater degree of inequality, as indexed by the Gini coefficient, was also associated with increased CRP concentration (P = 0.003).Conclusion Given that CRP concentration is a marker of future CVD risk, this study suggests that within these previously homogenous rural communities, economic development might have stratified people into population subgroups with a different CVD risk. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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    • "income effect shows that migrants who felt they were poor experience relative deprivation. Appleton and Song (2008) and Knight et al. (2009) find evidence of relative deprivation in urban China and rural China, respectively. However, previous literature on the relative deprivation seldom pays attention to the fact that the reported income status could be false. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper identifies determinants to positively influence the happiness level of rural-to-urban migrants at the bottom of the distribution of subjective well being (SWB) using an unconditional quantile regression rather than the conventional mean regression methodology. Using a basic regression specification, the positive effects of income and objective health status and the negative effect of work hours are found to be decreasing along the distribution of SWB, suggesting that standard factors are more relevant to the SWB of the subgroup of less happy migrants. Education seems to play a stabilizing role as it decreases the likelihood of extremes in well-being. From an examination of social insurance coverage and relative concerns, a positive relationship between pension and SWB is observed for the first time in happiness literature on Chinese migrants, suggesting interesting future research directions on the policy effects of the newly established New Rural Social Pension scheme on improving the SWB of people with rural hukou. Furthermore,the signal effect is found when migrants are compared with urban workers and the status effect is found when they are compared with other migrants. However, we find that only perceived, rather than objective income position matters.
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