Inequality and Life Satisfaction in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: The Role of Opportunity
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Life satisfactionSubjective well beingIncome inequalityOpportunity
García-Muñoz, T. M., Milgram-Baleix, J., & Odeh-Odeh, O. (2019). Inequality and Life Satisfaction in Low-and Middle-Income Countries: The Role of Opportunity. Societies, 9(2), 37.
This study delves into the relationship between income inequality and subjective well-being by gauging the role played by opportunities at the country level. Using data from the World Value Survey, we estimate multilevel models to explain cross-country differences in individuals’ life satisfaction. Opportunity and inequality exert a significant effect per se on life satisfaction, and their joint effect explains the puzzling positive relationship between income inequality and life satisfaction in low- and middle-income countries. Income inequalities reduce the well-being of individuals if opportunities are low, but inequality is not relevant for life satisfaction if opportunities in the country are high. Among the aspects of opportunity that really matter, we show that inclusiveness and access to advanced education play a more major role than political freedom or personal rights. Results apply for different social, income, and education groups.