توضیح بهزیستن ذهنی از شهری و روستایی چینی: درآمد، نگرانی های شخصی و ارزیابی اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|38033||2015||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Social Science Research, Volume 49, January 2015, Pages 179–190
Abstract This study makes an integrated investigation of how subjective well-being is associated with income, personal concerns, and societal evaluations and how these social and psychological correlates of subjective well-being are contextualized within a country. Data used for the empirical analysis come from a nationally representative sample survey conducted in China in 2009. It is found that subjective well-being is independently linked to income, personal concerns, and societal evaluations. Comparisons of urban and rural Chinese further reveal that income, structural attributions of inequality, and evaluations of governance are related to subjective well-being among both groups. Nevertheless, different sets of other evaluative correlates of subjective well-being between urban and rural people stand out, which is conjectured to be related to the long-time institutional, economic, and social segmentation of the two groups. This study has contributed to both the subjective well-being theories and the understanding of the consequences of social inequality.
. Introduction Subjective well-being has received an increasing scholarly interest in the past several decades (Easterlin, 1974, Easterlin, 2001, Diener, 1984, Kahneman et al., 2003, Eid and Larsen, 2008 and Veenhoven, 2008). Subjective well-being reflects individuals’ satisfaction with their life, indicates “the quality of the social system in which they live” (Veenhoven, 2008, p. 11), and predicts many life outcomes such as longevity, health, income, and social skills (Danner et al., 2001, Diener and Biswas-Diener, 2002 and Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). Recognizing its importance, the United Nations Development Programme has adopted subjective well-being as a crucial component of quality of life in its Human Development Report (UNDP, 2010). Social scientists have found that subjective well-being is associated with income (Diener et al., 1999, Helliwell et al., 2012 and Stevenson and Wolfers, 2008), social psychological mechanisms including social comparisons and life goal orientations (Diener and Lucas, 2000, Kasser and Ryan, 1993, Kasser and Ryan, 1996 and Michalos, 1985), and the macro context of living such as income inequality (Alesina et al., 2004 and Oshio and Kobayashi, 2011), effectiveness of governance (Bjørnskov et al., 2007 and Ott, 2010), and social capital (Helliwell and Putnam, 2004, Helliwell and Wang, 2011, Helliwell et al., 2013, Ram, 2010 and Winkelmann, 2009). While being inspiring, the existing explanations of subjective well-being have a few limitations: First, the effects of income, personal concerns, and the macro context of living are usually examined in discrete studies rather than simultaneously. Second, the inquiry of the influence of the macro context such as income inequality and effectiveness of governance predominantly uses objective measures such as the Gini coefficient, government size, and quality of public services (Bjørnskov et al., 2007, Oshio and Kobayashi, 2011 and Ott, 2010), but seldom tests the importance of subjective evaluations of the macro context (Kim and Kim, 2012). Third, research on the contextualization of the correlates of subjective well-being, such as income and values, primarily focuses on cross-national differences (Diener and Biswas-Diener, 2002 and Inglehart and Rabier, 1986) and is yet to be extended inside a society marked by systematic economic and social stratification. This study attempts to address those limitations. It examines how income, personal concerns, and evaluations of social circumstances are related to subjective well-being simultaneously and whether and how those correlates vary between systematically segmented social groups, using data from a nationally representative sample survey in China. China is a particularly suitable setting for addressing our research questions given the dramatic transformation it has experienced over the last three decades. It has witnessed impressive economic growth, drastic expansion of inequality, widespread internalization of consumerism, growing tension between the state and society, and prevailing of individualism and atomization over the collectivist-oriented social fabric. Those dynamic developments make China a pertinent case to examine how money and multi-faceted evaluations of individual and social circumstances bear on subjective well-being. Furthermore, there have been sweeping disparities in income, standards of living, social welfare, outlooks on life, and values between urban and rural Chinese, which are larger than what have been found in many developing countries and developed countries during industrialization ( Knight, 2008 and Whyte, 1995). The sharp urban–rural inequality makes China theoretically relevant to study whether and how the correlates of subjective well-being are contextualized across systematically divided groups within a country. Empirical research on subjective well-being in China using national data is emerging but scarce. Appleton and Song (2008) find that income and satisfaction with economic growth and low inflation contribute to overall life satisfaction among urban Chinese. Knight et al. (2009) discover that happiness is weakly affected by income but highly sensitive to the subjective relative position of one’s household’s income in the village, perceived importance of personal relationships, and the degree of personal materialism in rural China. Studies that directly compare the correlates of subjective well-being between urban and rural Chinese are even rarer. Among them, Knight and Gunatilaka (2010) reveal that happiness is significantly related to income and social comparisons in both urban and rural China and to perceived extent of fairness of income distribution in the city. Han (2012b) finds that livelihood satisfaction is significantly associated with social comparisons among both urban and rural residents and with material aspirations only among urbanites. Brockmann et al. (2009) discover that relative deprivation measured by financial dissatisfaction plays a robust role in life satisfaction among both groups and that political disaffection matters only among urban people. While these findings are informative, different measures of subjective well-being are used and varying sets of predictive variables are examined across studies. It is unclear how the patterns of the subjective well-being for urban and rural Chinese look like when the associations with income, personal concerns, and societal evaluations are simultaneously scrutinized in one study. In sum, this study makes a comprehensive investigation of how subjective well-being is related to income, personal concerns, and societal evaluations, factors that have been either discretely or rarely examined in previous research. It pays particular attention to the contextualization of those correlates of subjective well-being within a country through comparison of urban and rural Chinese.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
7. Conclusion This study makes a comprehensive exploration of how subjective well-being is related to income, personal concerns (social comparisons and life goal orientations), and societal evaluations (perceived sources of inequality, evaluation of governance, and social trust), factors that are either discretely or scarcely investigated in prior research, based on the analyses of data from a nationally representative sample survey in China. Particular attention is devoted to identification of robust correlates among urban and rural Chinese respectively so as to enhance our understanding of the contextualization of the correlates of subjective well-being within a society. Higher income is linked to significantly greater happiness among both urban and rural Chinese, even after other objective conditions and personal and societal concerns are held constant. This finding illustrates the prevalent salience of the material circumstances in Chinese people’s feeling about life although money is not the only determinant. Among subjective correlates, structural attributions of inequality consistently show a negative correlation in both urban and rural samples. This pattern echoes the findings about significant bearings of structural explanations for inequality on popular sentiments and policy attitudes in previous research (Han, 2012a, Han and Whyte, 2009 and Whyte, 2010a) and lends credence to the centrality of the sense of injustice about the current system in the feelings about life across context. The robust coefficients for the two measures of evaluations of governance in both rural and urban models exhibit the importance of government accountability and effective social protection in people’s life throughout China, which is compatible with the pervasive role of the Chinese state in the country’s economic and social development. Different sets of other evaluative measures in relation to subjective well-being between urban and rural Chinese stand out, which to a large extent reflects the economic, social, and cultural discrepancies between urban and rural China. Perceived importance of materialistic pursuit versus non-material concerns in life and individualistic attributions of inequality demonstrate a significant association only in the urban sample, which plausibly suggests the particular dominance of materialistic aspirations and cherishing of individualism and meritocracy in the more industrialized city. Comparison with people in the immediate social milieu and social trust show a robust effect only among rural Chinese, which possibly reflects the relative homogeneity and closeness of social contacts as well as the importance of community solidarity in the rural setting. The opposite effects of ascribed explanations for inequality in the two samples are striking and suggest contrasting attitudes toward ascribed status among urban and rural Chinese. The dampening effect of ascribed attributions on happiness among urban people is consistent with their valuing of meritocracy and suggests their denial of ascribed status as a fair outcome, while the positive effect of this variable in the rural model may reflect persistent embracement of familiar inheritance of status among rural Chinese. It should be noted that there are some limitations in this study. Cross-sectional data reveal correlations but not the causal direction. For example, it is possible that people with higher levels of subjective well-being are likely to be less critical of the existing distributional order and more accepting of the status quo of social protection. In addition, subjective well-being and many key independent variables are self-reported measures. It is possible that the associations discovered in this study to some extent reflect the influence of some confounding factors, such as personal disposition or temperament, which are not controlled for. Findings in the previous research increase our confidence in the causality of some relationships we study. For example, justice beliefs have been found to be antecedent to personal well-being (Jost and Hunyady, 2005). That said, longitudinal research design and data measuring potential confounding factors are needed to systematically address causality in future. Despite those caveats, this study makes important contributions to the subjective well-being theories. It integrates the examination of the relationships between subjective well-being and income, personal concerns, and societal evaluations in a single study and reveals to what extent those factors are independently associated with happiness. This study also enhances our knowledge of the contextualization of the correlates of subjective well-being. Prior research along this line tends to focus on cross-national comparisons. This study demonstrates that entrenched division of social groups in a country, such as urban and rural Chinese, may also contextualize the correlates of subjective well-being across systematically segmented groups within the country. In so doing, it also extends the theories on the consequences of social inequality by illustrating how the contour of objective inequality may shape the formation of subjective feelings about life. This study also has several policy implications. For example, continuous delivery of economic growth, adherence to fair distributional rules, and enhancement of governance are crucial for cultivating Chinese people’s satisfaction with life, an importance source of regime legitimacy and social stability in China. Measures are also needed to minimize the negative impact of deteriorating social fabric, such as diminishing social trust, which may accompany the urbanization of rural China. At the general level, any government that cares about its people’s subjective well-being is recommended to go beyond material indicators, grasp the complexity of the influences of multiple objective and subjective factors, and note varying hosts of pertinent factors among different groups.