Edited by Conchita D’Ambrosio
Chapter 15: Relative deprivation and satisfaction: theoretical approaches
The concepts of relative deprivation and relative satisfaction, as opposed to inequality, can refer not only to a set of individuals, but also to single individuals. The interest in these concepts is thus motivated by the desire to obtain indicators at the individual level. The chapter starts by presenting evidence of the academic interest in these topics and reviewing the main theoretical models developed, adopting a relativistic specification of utility. It then moves on to the issue of measurement. Different approaches to measurement are introduced. The main indices proposed by the literature and extensions to a dynamic setting are illustrated, and the concept of the reference group is analysed. Concluding remarks focus on the importance of acknowledging interpersonal comparison effects and introducing relativist concerns in models aimed at explaining a wide range of social phenomena.
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