This paper draws on the German Socio-economic Panel Study (SOEP) to investigate whether changes in others? income are perceived differently in post-transition and capitalist societies. We find that the neighbourhood income effect for West Germany is negative and slightly more marked in neighbourhoods where the neighbours interact socially. In contrast, the coefficients on neighbourhood income in East Germany are positive, but not statistically significant. This suggests not only that there is a divide between East and West Germany, but also that neighbours may not be a relevant comparison group in societies that have comparatively low levels of neighbouring.
Comparison income Reference group Life Satisfaction Neighbourhood effects