The researchers from the Paris School of Economics, analysed data from a Europe wide survey and have found that three-quarters of those asked thought it was important to compare their salaries with others, even though those who did seemed less content.
The Economic Journal analysed data from the European Social Survey which covered 19,000 participants in 24 countries. The survey found that those who compared incomes tended to be less happy than those who did not.
In addition to this the study also found that it was comparing pay checks with friends and family that seemed to be the most unsettling for people and the act caused up to twice as much pain as comparisons with colleagues.
Experts have said comparing your salary with the earnings of colleagues could actually help to promote positive feelings about potential future income whereas comparisons with university friends cause damage because you shared the same opportunities.
Professor Cary Cooper is an expert in organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School and has advised that people refrain from making such comparisons if we want to be happy with who we are and if we do really insist on doing so ”remember those you’re comparing yourself with may not actually be more content.”