Inderscience Publishers

Does aggregate income influence satisfaction with the standard of living?

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Sociologists have been arguing whether aggregate income enhances subjective well-being and, more specifically, satisfaction with the standard of living. The empirical results were mixed. This article suggests that aggregate income affects standard-of-living satisfaction not only directly but also indirectly. Using path analysis and a dataset from Germany, this study finds that absolute income, short-term income fluctuations, and income inequality do not have direct impacts on standard-of-living satisfaction. However, they have indirect impacts mediated by income satisfaction, aggregate customer satisfaction, and satisfaction with the household role. Hence, public policy can rely on economic growth to enhance standard-of-living satisfaction. Government must ensure that economic growth translates into more satisfactory consumption experiences and that growing economic activity rather strengthens than divides families. Future sociological research should account for mediated effects of aggregate income on subjective well-being and no longer ignore the role of customer satisfaction.

Keywords: standard of living satisfaction, economic growth, aggregate income, income inequality, income fluctuations, customer satisfaction, income satisfaction, household role, society systems, Germany

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