Competition is one of the driving forces of the market, but the actual effects that a competitive behavior can produce, especially on well-being, depend on how competition is perceived by economic agents. In this paper we empirically study the relationship among different attitudes to competition, positional concerns, and happiness. Using microdata from an ad-hoc survey administered to all first-year undergraduate students attending courses in economics and sociology at a medium-sized university in the North of Italy, we find a high degree of positionality for several items, especially income. Furthermore, the attitude to competition matters for both positionality and wellbeing: while a negative perception of competition increases the probability of being positional, a positive perception of competition increases life satisfaction. Results by gender highlight that a negative perception of competition is detrimental particularly for women. These results are robust to alternative definitions of the competition indicators and to alternative ways to control for potential endogeneity.

(2018). Competing for Happiness: Attitudes to Competition, Positional Concerns and Wellbeing [journal article - articolo]. In JOURNAL OF HAPPINESS STUDIES. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/91264

Competing for Happiness: Attitudes to Competition, Positional Concerns and Wellbeing

GRASSENI, Mara;ORIGO, Federica Maria
2018

Abstract

Competition is one of the driving forces of the market, but the actual effects that a competitive behavior can produce, especially on well-being, depend on how competition is perceived by economic agents. In this paper we empirically study the relationship among different attitudes to competition, positional concerns, and happiness. Using microdata from an ad-hoc survey administered to all first-year undergraduate students attending courses in economics and sociology at a medium-sized university in the North of Italy, we find a high degree of positionality for several items, especially income. Furthermore, the attitude to competition matters for both positionality and wellbeing: while a negative perception of competition increases the probability of being positional, a positive perception of competition increases life satisfaction. Results by gender highlight that a negative perception of competition is detrimental particularly for women. These results are robust to alternative definitions of the competition indicators and to alternative ways to control for potential endogeneity.
articolo
Grasseni, Mara; Origo, Federica Maria
(2018). Competing for Happiness: Attitudes to Competition, Positional Concerns and Wellbeing [journal article - articolo]. In JOURNAL OF HAPPINESS STUDIES. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/91264
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