On free markets, income inequality, happiness and trust

Bjorn Lous

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Even though on average Western countries are richer than ever before, an undercurrent of widespread discomfort and uncertainty has been revealed in recent years. This has led to renewed critical interest in the foundations and assumptions of the capitalist economic model. This thesis focuses on the role of inequality in the functioning of the economy. Specifically, three relationships are investigated. The first empirical chapter sets the general context, looking at the effect of economic freedom on (country-level) life satisfaction through income inequality. The second research chapter analyzes the effect of income inequality on trust and inequality in life satisfaction. The third and fourth chapters zoom in on the microeconomic level, discussing how national income inequality relates to individual life satisfaction, and to individual inclination to trust other people. In addition, the differences between different income groups are investigated, as well as between other socio-demographically defined groups.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • Graafland, Johan, Promotor
  • Kooreman, Peter, Promotor
Award date31 Jan 2020
Place of PublicationTilburg
Print ISBNs978 90 5668 620 8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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