People who are unable to maintain the same standard of living as others around them experience a sense of relative deprivation that has been shown to reduce feelings of well-being. Relative deprivation reflects conditions of worsening relative poverty despite striking reductions in absolute poverty. The effects of relative deprivation explain why average happiness has been stagnant over time despite sharp rises in income. Consumption taxes on status-seeking spending, along with official and traditional sanctions on excess consumption and redistributive policies may lessen the negative impact of relative deprivation on well-being.
Keywords: happiness; health; relative deprivation; relative poverty; relative status; well-being.
Conflict of interest statement
Competing interests The IZA World of Labor project is committed to the IZA Guiding Principles of Research Integrity. The author declares to have observed these principles.
Does relative deprivation predict the need for mental health services?J Ment Health Policy Econ. 2004 Dec;7(4):167-75. J Ment Health Policy Econ. 2004. PMID: 15701932
Relative deprivation in income and self-rated health in the United States.Soc Sci Med. 2009 Aug;69(3):327-34. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.06.008. Epub 2009 Jun 22. Soc Sci Med. 2009. PMID: 19552992
Status Concern and Relative Deprivation in China: Measures, Empirical Evidence and Economic and Policy Implications.China (Singap). 2016 Feb;14(1):151-170. China (Singap). 2016. PMID: 29033479 Free PMC article.
Public sector employment, relative deprivation and happiness in adult urban Chinese employees.Health Promot Int. 2013 Sep;28(3):477-86. doi: 10.1093/heapro/das028. Epub 2012 Jun 19. Health Promot Int. 2013. PMID: 22717616
Subjective relative deprivation is associated with poorer physical and mental health.Soc Sci Med. 2015 Dec;147:144-9. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.030. Epub 2015 Oct 19. Soc Sci Med. 2015. PMID: 26575605