Living conditions and well-being
Evidence from African countries
We here use five rounds of Afrobarometer data covering more than 100,000 individuals over the 2004-2016 period to explore the link between self-assessed measures of living conditions and objective measures of individual well-being (access to basic needs). These latter are picked up by various indices of deprivation, satisfaction and inequality.
We find some evidence of comparisons to those who are better off and to those who are worse off, in terms of access to basic needs, in the evaluation of current living conditions. Overall, however, subjective well-being is mostly absolute in African countries. There is notable heterogeneity by level of development, with the effect of lack of access to basic needs being more pronounced in poorer countries. Equally, comparisons to the better-off are associated with better living conditions in poorer countries, suggesting the existing of a tunnel effect: this latter disappears with economic development.