Leadership

The Relative Utility Hypothesis With And Without Self-reported Reference Wages

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Executive Summary

This paper uses survey data of 90,000 union employees working in 62 publicly traded companies in Japan between 1990 and 2004 to study the effect of both own and self-reported reference wages on workers' subjective well-being levels. The availability of self-reported reference wages generates very robust findings that do not depend on questionable identifying assumptions. These findings confirm that higher estimates by workers of their peers' earnings are associated with lower levels of life and job satisfaction.

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