Xi Chen

  • Current position:
    Assistant Professor of Public Health (Health Policy) and of Economics, Yale University, USA
  • Research interest:
    Health, labor, and development economics
  • Website:
  • Affiliations:
    Yale University, USA, and IZA, Germany
  • Past positions:
    Consultant, World Institute for Development Economics Research, United Nations University; Faculty Advisor, Chia Family Health Fellowship, Yale-China Association; Research Fellow, The Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University
  • Qualifications:
    PhD Applied Economics, Cornell University, USA, 2012
  • Selected publications:
    • “Blood plasma sales and hepatitis C epidemic.” Health Economics Review 4:30 (2014).
    • “Essays on social networks: Relative concerns, social interactions, and unintended consequences.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 96:2 (2014): 607–608.
    • “Gift escalation and network structure in rural China.” PLoS ONE 9:8 (2014): e102104.
    • “Fetus, fasting, and festival: The persistent effects of in utero social shocks.” International Journal of Health Policy and Management 3 (2014): 165–169.
    • “Relative deprivation in China.” In: Fan, S., R. Kanbur, S. Wei, and X. Zhang (eds). The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014; pp. 406–410.
  • Articles

Relative deprivation and individual well-being

Low status and a feeling of relative deprivation are detrimental to health and happiness

April 2015

10.15185/izawol.140 140

by Xi Chen Chen, X

People who are unable to maintain the same standard of living as others around them experience a sense of relative deprivation that has been shown to reduce feelings of 
well-being. Relative deprivation reflects conditions of worsening relative poverty despite striking reductions in absolute poverty. The effects of relative deprivation explain why average happiness has been stagnant over time despite sharp rises in income. Consumption taxes on status-seeking spending, along with official and traditional sanctions on excess consumption and redistributive policies may lessen the negative impact of relative deprivation on well-being.