Income inequality has generally increased since the 1970s. Even for researchers who find that income inequality has Does this mean that happiness inequality has also increased? An NBER working paper by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers claims that this is not the case. Below is the a portion of the abstract.
While there has been no increase in aggregate happiness, inequality in happiness has fallen substantially since the 1970s. There have been large changes in the level of happiness across groups: Two-thirds of the black-white happiness gap has been eroded, and the gender happiness gap has disappeared entirely. Paralleling changes in the income distribution, differences in happiness by education have widened substantially…Juxtaposing these changes with large rises in income inequality suggests an important role for non-pecuniary factors in shaping the well-being distribution.
- Betsey Stevenson, Justin Wolfers (2008) “Happiness Inequality in the United States” NBER Working Paper No. 14220.
- Richard V. Burkhauser, Shuaizhang Feng, Stephen P. Jenkins, Jeff Larrimore (2008) “Estimating Trends in US Income Inequality Using the Current Population Survey: The Importance of Controlling for Censoring” NBER WP #14247.