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From Average Joe's happiness to Miserable Jane and Cheerful John: using quantile regressions to analyze the full subjective well-being distribution

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  • Binder, Martin
  • Coad, Alex

Abstract

Standard regression techniques are only able to give an incomplete picture of the relationship between subjective well-being and its determinants since the very idea of conventional estimators such as OLS is the averaging out over the whole distribution: studies based on such regression techniques thus are implicitly only interested in Average Joe's happiness. Using cross-sectional data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) for the year 2006, we apply quantile regressions to analyze effects of a set of explanatory variables on different quantiles of the happiness distribution and compare these results with a standard regression. Among our results we observe a decreasing importance of income, health status and social factors with increasing quantiles of happiness. Another finding is that education has a positive association with happiness at the lower quantiles but a negative association at the upper quantiles. We explore the robustness of our findings in various ways.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 79 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 275-290

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:79:y:2011:i:3:p:275-290

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Related research

Keywords: Quantile regressions Subjective well-being Happiness Life satisfaction Mental well-being BHPS;

References

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Cited by:
  1. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2012. ""I'm afraid I have bad news for you…" Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being," SPRU Working Paper Series 200, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  2. Aguilar, Alexandra Cortés & García Muñoz, Teresa M. & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2013. "Heterogeneous self-employment and satisfaction in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 44-61.
  3. Martin Binder, 2013. "Innovativeness and Subjective Well-Being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(2), pages 561-578, April.
  4. Krause, Annabelle, 2013. "Don’t worry, be happy? Happiness and reemployment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 1-20.
  5. Martin Binder, 2013. "Subjective Well-being Capabilities: Bridging the Gap between the Capability Approach and Subjective Well-Being Research," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  6. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2013. "Life satisfaction and self-employment: a matching approach," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 1009-1033, May.
  7. Martin Binder & Tom Broekel, 2012. "Happiness No Matter the Cost? An Examination on How Efficiently Individuals Reach Their Happiness Levels," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 621-645, August.
  8. Hao Yuan & Mayank Golpelwar, 2013. "Testing Subjective Well-Being from the Perspective of Social Quality: Quantile Regression Evidence from Shanghai, China," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 257-276, August.
  9. Cortés Aguilar Alexandra & Teresa Garcia-Muñoz & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2013. "Heterogeneous Self-employment and Subjective Well-Being. Evidence from Latin America," ThE Papers 13/05, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  10. Martin Binder & Andreas Freytag, 2012. "Volunteering, Happiness and Public Policy," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-013, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  11. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2011. ""I'm afraid I have bad news for you . . ." Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-15, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  12. Martin Binder & Leonhard K. Lades, 2014. "Autonomy-enhancing Paternalism," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_800, Levy Economics Institute.
  13. Martin Binder & Felix Ward, 2011. "The Structure of Happiness: A Vector Autoregressive Approach," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-08, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  14. Binder, Martin & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Volunteering, subjective well-being and public policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 97-119.

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