Mobility, uncertainty and subjective welfare in Hungary.
One of the decisive factors behind satisfaction (subjective welfare) is income mobility. Individuals usually judge change in their income position in terms of change in relative position, not in level of income. So the study analyses in the main the effect on satisfaction exerted in Hungary by objective and subjective indices of relative income mobility, in the 2000-2002 period, when the rate of growth in real incomes was exceptionally high. The findings confirm that in upwardly mobile families with increasing incomes in the period examined, the rise in relative income position did not bring added satisfaction: those whose relative position had improved were less satisfied than their attained income level would warrant. This situation pertains primarily because of uncertainty about the objective variables, when those whose incomes are rising do not expect the positive trends to persist. Those in a marginal labour market situation are more dissatisfied than others, regardless of their income, and this dissatisfaction may spread to family members in a different position. This combined sphere makes up almost a third of Hungary's population. Negative labour-market expectations are likewise factors that reduce satisfaction.
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