Socio-economic inequality and altruism

Keywords: inequality, altruism, charity, views of income inequality.


The article addresses the attitudes to inequality in the Russian society depending on the role of the individual in a reference group. It is shown that people are ready to accept significant income inequality if they believe that the income is well earned. No correlation was found between subjective well-being and inequality. The vast majority of people compare themselves with friends, neighbours and relatives. The next most important reference group is colleagues, followed by celebrities. The rejection of representatives of lower social classes is negatively correlated with life satisfaction. At the same time, the respondents expressed willingness to build a society where, having due means, people would organise help to those who cannot provide for themselves.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Ilkhom Davydov, Russian State Social University in Osh, Kyrgyz Republic.

PhD in Economics, Branch of the Russian State Social University in Osh, Kyrgyz Republic.

Anastasia Nikolskaya, Kosygin Russian State University, Russia, Russia.

PhD in Psychology, Kosygin Russian State University, Russia.

Galina Podbiralina, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Russia.

PhD in Economics, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Russia.

Nikolay Mrochkovsky, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Russia.

PhD in Economics, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Russia.

Oksana Chuvilova, North-Caucasus Federal University, Russia.

PhD in Economics, North-Caucasus Federal University, Russia.


Aknin, L.B., Barrington-Leigh, C.P., Dunn, E.W., Helliwell, J.F., Burns, J., Biswas-Diener, R., Kemeza, I., Nyende, P., Ashton-James, CE., & Norton, M. I. (2013). Prosocial spending and well-being: Cross-cultural evidence for a psychological universal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 635–652.

Andreoni, J. (1989). Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence. Journal of Political Economy, 97(6), 1447-1458.

Bloch, F., Rao, V., & Desai, S. (2004). Wedding Celebrations as Conspicuous Consumption: Signaling Social Status in Rural India. The Journal of Human Resources, 39 (3), 675-695.

Boehm, J.K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). The promise of sustainable happiness. In: The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology (2 ed.). Edited by Shane J. Lopez and C.R. Snyder. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bossert, W., D'Ambrosio, C., & Peragine, V. (2007). Deprivation and Social Exclusion, Economica, 74(296), 777–803.

Brown, G., Gardner, J., Oswald, A.J., & Qian, J. (2008). Does Wage Rank Affect Employees' Well-being? Industrial Relations, 47(3), 355 - 389.

Brown, P.H., Bulte, E., & Zhang, X. (2011). Positional Spending and Status Seeking in Rural China. Journal of Development Economics, 96(1), 139–149.

Card, D., Mas, A., Moretti, E., & Saez, E. (2012). Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction. American Economic Review, 102(6), 2981–3003.

Carpenter, J.P., & Myers, C.K. (2010). Why volunteer? Evidence on the role of altruism, reputation, and incentives. Journal of Public Economics, 94(11-12), 911–920.

Clark, A.E., & Oswald, A.J. (1996). Satisfaction and Comparison Income. Journal of Public Economics, 61(3), 359–381.

Clark, A.E., & Senik, C. (2010). Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe. Economic Journal, 120(544), 573–594.

D'Ambrosio, C., & Frick, J. R. (2007). Income satisfaction and relative deprivation: An empirical link. Social Indicators Research, 81(3), 497–519.

D'Ambrosio, C., & Frick, J.R. (2012). Individual Well-Being in a Dynamic Perspective. Economica, 79(314), 284–302.

Dunn, E.W., Aknin, L.B., & Norton, M.I. (2008). Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness. Science, 319(5870), 1687-1688.

Easterlin, R. A., McVey, L. A., Switek, M., Sawangfa, O., & Zweig, J. S. (2010). The happiness–income paradox revisited. PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(52), 22463–22468.

Ferrer–i–Carbonell, A. (2005). Income and Well–being: an Empirical Analysis of the Comparison Income Effect. Journal of Public Economics, 89(5-6), 997–1019.

Heffetz, O. (2011). A Test of Conspicuous Consumption: Visibility and Income Elasticities. Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(4), 1101–1117.

Hirschman, A. O., & Rothschild, M. (1973). The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic Development. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 87(4), 544–566.

Kiffin-Petersen, S., Murphy, S.A., & Soutar, G. (2012). The problem-solving service worker: Appraisal mechanisms and positive affective experiences during customer interactions. Human Relations, 65(9), 1179-1206.

Konow, J. (2010). Mixed feelings: Theories of and evidence on giving. Journal of Public Economics, 94(3-4), 279-297.

Konow, J., & Earley, J. (2008). The Hedonistic Paradox: Is Homo Economicus Happier? Journal of Public Economics, 92(1-2), 1-33.

Kranton, R., Pease, M., Sanders, S., & Huettel, S. (2013). Identity, Groups, and Social Preferences. Durham: Duke University.

Kuhn, P., Kooreman, P., Soetevent, A., & Kapteyn, A. (2011). The Effects of Lottery Prizes on Winners and their Neighbors: Evidence from the Dutch Postcode Lottery. American Economic Review, 101(5), 2226–2247.

Luttmer, E.F.P. (2005). Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well–Being. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(3), 963–1002.

Maki, А., & Snyder, М. (2015). Investigating Similarities and Differences Between Volunteer Behaviors: Development of a Volunteer Interest Typology. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 46(1), 5-28.

Mas, A. (2006). Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 121(3), 783–821.

Merton, R.K., & Rossi, A.S. (1968). Contributions to the Theory of Reference Group Behaviour. In: Merton, R.K.: Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: The Free Press.

Nusratullin, I.V., Nusratullin, W.K., Gaysina, A.V., & Habibullin, R.G. (2019). Modern global trends of social and economic systems. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (Conference on Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism (SCTCGM 2018)), 58, 1435-1445,

Pinkovetskaia, I., Arbeláez-Campillo, D., Rojas-Bahamón, M., & Veas Iniesta, D. (2020). Motivation of new entrepreneurs in modern economies. Amazonia Investiga, 9(29), 368-373.

Ricard, M. (2016). Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself And The World. New York: Back Bay Books.

Vishnever, V.Y., Burganov, R.A., & Nusratullin, I.V. (2019). Institutional transformations in the field of services in digital economy. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (International Scientific Conference Global Challenges and Prospects of the Modern Economic Development (GCPMED 2018), 57, 1759-1768.
How to Cite
Davydov, I., Nikolskaya, A., Podbiralina, G., Mrochkovsky, N., & Chuvilova, O. (2022). Socio-economic inequality and altruism. Amazonia Investiga, 11(55), 306-317.