The nexus between income and happiness is very much disputed. Many cross-sectional studies see a positive relationship, most longitudinal studies don't. Starting from the fact that the theoretical basis in happiness research has been comparatively weak, we develop a model that identifies distributional consequences of unemployment with their importance conditional per-capita income as at the heart of the matter. Our theory is backed by empirical evidence on OECD data: in low-income countries, well-being significantly depends on income, in highincome countries on the unemployment-related Gini. Insofar, our findings establish the income-satiation hypothesis of longitudinal studies also in cross-sectional perspective.
Happiness Welfare Economics Income Distribution Unemployment