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Faster, higher, stronger… and happier? Relative achievement and marginal rank effects

Dolan, Paul, Foy, Chloe, Kavetsos, Georgios and Kudrna, Laura (2021) Faster, higher, stronger… and happier? Relative achievement and marginal rank effects. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, 95. ISSN 2214-8043

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socec.2021.101761


Most prior research on the relationship between relative attainment and subjective wellbeing focuses on relative income. The direction of this relationship may, however, be positive or negative. Defining the target comparison group can be challenging. This study focuses on a sample where ‘relative others’ are especially salient – Olympic athletes – and investigates relative achievement using a different ‘currency’ – medals. While prior research shows that bronze are happier than silver medallists, we find no difference unless there is a relatively close race at the bottom of the podium in the competition between silver, bronze, and fourth. A nuanced distributional approach can be used to explore marginal rank effects.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
LSE Health
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2021 11:51
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 01:16

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