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  • Social comparisons with similar people determine income's effect on happiness

    University of Illinois sociology head and professor Tim Liao

    Sociology professor and head Tim Liao found that Americans were happier in states with higher wealth inequality when they had people within their gender/ethno-racial group – some more affluent and others poorer than themselves – to use as benchmarks for social comparisons.

    Photo courtesy Tim Liao


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  • Editor’s Note: To reach Tim Liao, call 217-333-7988; email

    The paper “Income inequality, social comparison and happiness in the United States” is available online or from the News Bureau.

    DOI: 10.1177/2378023120985648