Being Poor & Feeling Rich?
Income Positions between Perception and Reality in Europe
Against this background, the paper investigates the relationship between objective income positions and their subjective evaluation among the older population (50+ years) using data from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The empirical results show that objective income positions can be congruent with or differ from subjective self-perceptions. Overall, the majority of elderly European households live in an objectively favorable income situation and are aware of this as well (well-being). In contrast, approximately one fifth of the elderly European population is characterized by deprivation in which a bad objective position goes hand in hand with a bad subjective evaluation. Moreover, almost one-third of the elderly surveyed display inconsistent objective and subjective welfare positions. However, the frequency of the satisfaction paradox and the dilemma varies widely across Europe. Further multivariate analyses investigated the causes of the two forms of non-congruence, namely, adaptation (satisfaction paradox) and dissonance (dissatisfaction dilemma) and identified in addition to socio-demographic and socio-economic determinants as well as social-psychological influences also structural variations explain country-specific differences.