Which types of income matter most for well‐being in China: Absolute, relative or income aspirations?

Yangmei Luo, Tong Wang, Xiting Huang
Published Online:
11 May 2016
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 53 Issue 3

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China has experienced remarkable economic growth, but that has not been associated with increases in individual well‐being, implying that well‐being may not be sensitive to increases in absolute income (AI). Thus, the relationship between well‐being and other types of income is worth investigating. This study employed a national sample of 5471 respondents from 31 provinces of China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) to compare the effects of AI, relative income (RI) and income aspirations (IA) on individual well‐being in China. The results of a hierarchical regression analysis found that, compared to AI and RI, IA explained more variation in well‐being. These findings highlight the importance of IA for well‐being among the Chinese.

© 2016 International Union of Psychological Science