Aversion to Local Wellbeing Inequality is Moderated by Social Engagement and Sense of Community
journal contributionposted on 19.10.2021, 03:43 by PR Dickinson, Philip MorrisonPhilip Morrison
Our subjective wellbeing is a mix of our personal and community wellbeing. One indication of their close relationship is the strong negative correlation between our own subjective wellbeing and the degree of subjective wellbeing inequality within our community. This negative relationship reflects our innate and socialized inequality aversion and holds regardless of whether the group is large as in the case of countries or small in the case of local neighbourhoods. While the country case has been well documented in the subjective wellbeing literature, the relationship between the local community distribution of subjective wellbeing and individual subjective wellbeing has received little attention. In this paper we demonstrate the sensitivity of individual life satisfaction to the distribution of life satisfaction within electoral wards in urban New Zealand and explore several possible behavioural drivers. We find that having social support and feeling a sense of community both reduce the negative effects of local subjective wellbeing inequality, while being less socially engaged exaggerates them. Our results highlight the potential that programmes aimed at reducing wellbeing inequalities within local communities might play in raising individual as well as average wellbeing.