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Economic Inequality and Happiness: A quantitative study among the elderly in Rural Vietnam

Quang Tran, Tuyen and Viet Nguyen, Cuong and Van Vu, Huong (2015): Economic Inequality and Happiness: A quantitative study among the elderly in Rural Vietnam. Published in: Journal of Happiness Studies (15 January 2017): pp. 1-21.

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Abstract

By combining data from the 2011 Vietnam National Aging Survey and the 2011 Rural, Agricultural and Fishery Census, we examined whether expenditure inequality has any effect on happiness or life satisfaction among the elderly in rural Vietnam. We find that individuals who live in the communes with high inequality tend to self-report as being less happy, even after controlling for various individual and household attributes. The results are robust to the choice of inequality measures and the specification of econometric models. We also find that older rural people who are farmers or poor are more sensitive to inequality. Given that these people tend to be less happy than others, the result shows the risk that inequality further lowers their subjective well-being. The result supports the view that rural Vietnam is a less mobile society.

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