Income, Intra-household Bargaining Power and the Happiness of Japanese Married Women

Part of the Quality of Life in Asia book series (QLAS, volume 13)


This is an empirical study that evaluates the influence of household income, inter-household relative income, intra-household bargaining power on the happiness of Japanese married women using data from the Japanese Household Panel Survey (JHPS) conducted from 1995 and 2013. There are five major conclusions. First, the absolute income hypothesis is supported. The result is consistent with published studies for other developed and developing countries. Second, when absolute income is controlled, the inter-household relative income hypothesis is not supported: but when absolute income is not controlled, it is supported. Third, the income and education gap between a wife and her husband can negatively affect her happiness: however, the larger the amount of the husband’s income controlled by the wife the greater her happiness is, and the affect is more marked for the working wife group than the non-work wife group. Fourth, the results based on the robustness checks are consistent. Fifth, other factors, such as the wife’s education, and the hours of husband participation in child care or housework positively affect her happiness. The wife’s age, youngest child’s age, and living with parents negatively affects happiness.


Absolute income Inter-household relative income Intra-household bargaining power Happiness Japanese married women 


  1. Akerlof, G. A., & Yellen, J. K. (1990). The fair wage-effort hypothesis and unemployment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 105, 255–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Appleton, A., & Song, L. (2008). Life satisfaction in urban China: Components and determinant. World Development, 36(11), 2325–2340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boskin, M., & Sheshinski, E. (1978). Optimal redistributive taxation when individual welfare depends upon relative income. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 92, 589–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brockmann, H., Delhey, J., Welzel, C., & Yuan, H. (2009). The China puzzle: Falling happiness in a rising Economy. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10, 387–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Browning, M., Bourguignon, F., Chiappori, P. A., & Lechene, V. (1994). Income and outcomes—A structural model of intrahousehold allocation. Journal of Political Economy, 102, 1067–1096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Browning, M., Chiappori, P. A., & Lewbel, A. (2013). Estimating consumption economies of scale, adult equivalence scales, and household bargaining power. Review of Economic Studies, 80, 1267–1303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cherchye, L., De Rock, B., Lewbel, A., & Vermeulen, F. (2015). Sharing rule identification for general collective consumption models. Econometrica, 83, 2001–2041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cherchye, L., De Rock, B., & Vermeulen, F. (2012). Married with children: A collective labor supply model with detailed time use and intrahousehold expenditure information. American Economic Review, 102, 3377–3405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chiappori, P. A. (1992). Collective labor supply and welfare. Journal of Political Economy, 100(3), 437–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chiappori, P. A., Fortin, B., & Lacroix, G. (2002). Marriage market, divorce legislation, and household labor supply. Journal of Political Economy, 110, 37–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Contoyannis, P., Jones, A., & Rice, N. (2004). The dynamics of health in the British household panel survey. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 19, 473–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Couprie, H. (2007). Time allocation within the family: Welfare implications of life in a couple. Economic Journal, 117, 287–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Duesenberry, J. S. (1949). Income, savings, and the theory of consumer behaviour. Cambridge: Harvard UP.Google Scholar
  14. Easterlin, R. A. (1974). Does economic growth improve the human lot? In P. A. David & W. B. Melvin (Eds.), Nations and households in economic growth. New York: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Easterlin, R. A. (2001). Income and happiness: Toward a unified theory. The Economic Journal, 111, 465–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A. (2005). Income and well-being: An empirical analysis of the comparison income effect. Journal of Public Economics, 89, 997–1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Frank, R. H. (1985). Choosing the right pond: Human behavior and the quest for status. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hamermesh, D. (1977). Economic aspects of job satisfaction. In O. Ashenfelter & W. Oates (Eds.), Essays of labor market analysis. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Higuchi, Y., & Hagiwara, R. (2011). Life event and the change of happiness. Keio/Kyoto Global COE Discussion Paper Series, DP2011-016 (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  20. Higuchi, Y., & He, F. (2011). The happiness and life satisfaction of Japanese women. Keio/Kyoto Global COE Discussion Paper Series, DP2011-017 (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  21. Irokawa, T. (1999). Panel data analysis on life status and life satisfaction. Household Economic Research, 43, 50–58.Google Scholar
  22. Jiang, S., Lu, M., & Sato, H. (2011). Identity, inequality, and happiness: Evidence from urban China. World Development, 40(6), 1190–1200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kapteyn, A. B., van Praag, M. S., & van Herwaarden, F. G. (1978). Individual welfare functions and social preference spaces. Economic Letters, 1, 173–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Layard, R. (1980). Human satisfactions and public policy. Economic Journal, 90, 737–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leibenstein, H. (1950). Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen effects in the theory of consumer’s demand. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 64(2), 183–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lise, J., & Seitz, S. (2011). Consumption inequality and intra-household allocations. Review of Economic Studies, 78, 328–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lise, J., & Yamada, K. (2014). Household sharing and commitment: Evidence from panel data on individual expenditures and time use (IFS Working Papers).Google Scholar
  28. Luo, C. (2006). Urban–rural divide, employment, and subjective well-being. China Economic Quarterly, 5(3), 817–840. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  29. Luo, C. (2009). Absolute income, relative income and subjective well-being: Empirical test based on the sample data of urban and rural households in China. Journal of Finance and Economics, 35(11), 79–91. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  30. Ma, X. (2007). Household life time and life inequality. In Y. Higuchi, & M. Seiko (Eds.), The dynamic of Japanese household behaviour. Tokyo: Keio University Press (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  31. Ma, X. (2016). Income inequality and subjective happiness in urban region. In H. Kado, & K. Kajitani (Eds.), Chinese type capitalism going beyond the double trap. Tokyo: Mineluvi Press (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  32. Otake, F., Shiraishi, S., & Tsutsui, Y. (2010). Japanese happiness. Tokyo: Nippon Hyoronsha. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  33. Sakamoto, K. (2008). Wife’s reemployment and intra-household time and consumption allocation on subjective well-being. Household Economic Research, 77, 39–51. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  34. Sano, E., & Otake, F. (2007). Work and happiness. Journal of Japanese Labor Research, 558, 4–18. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  35. Smyth, R., Nielsen, I., & Zhai, Q. (2010). Personal well-being in urban China. Social Indicators Research, 95, 231–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tsutsui, Y. (2010). The issue on happiness studies. In F. Otake, S. Shiraishi, & Y. Tsutsui (Eds.), Japanese happiness. Tokyo: Nippon Hyoronsha (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  37. Urakawa, K., & Matsuura, T. (2007). Effect of relative income inequality on life satisfaction. Household Economic Research, 73, 61–70. (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  38. Vendrik, M. C. M., & Woltjer, G. B. (2007). Happiness and loss aversion: Is utility concave or convex in relative income? Journal of Public Economics, 91, 1423–1448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang, P., & VanderWeele, T. J. (2011). Empirical research on factors related to the subjective well-being of Chinese urban residents. Social Indicators Research, 101, 447–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wooldridge, J. (2002). Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  41. Wooldridge, J. (2005). Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 20, 39–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Far Eastern StudiesUniversity of ToyamaToyamaJapan
  2. 2.Departments of Urban and Environmental Engineering, School of EngineeringKyushu UniversityKyushuJapan

Personalised recommendations