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A New Framework of Happiness Survey and Evaluation of National Wellbeing

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  • Haiou Zhou

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Abstract

Happiness surveys based on self-reporting may generate unreliable data due to respondents’ imperfect retrospection, vulnerability to context and arbitrariness in measuring happiness. To overcome these problems, this paper proposes to combine a happiness evaluation method developed by Ng (Soc Indic Res, 38:1–29, 1996 ) with the day reconstruction method developed by Kahneman et al. (Science 306:1776–1780, 2004a ) to form a new happiness survey procedure. Distinguished from other surveys that ask respondents to rate their subjective wellbeing on a given scale, this happiness evaluation method provides detailed instructions to help each respondent determine a personal unit and use this unit to measure happiness in various occasions. While the day reconstruction method helps avoid the effects of imperfect retrospection and external disturbances, this new procedure can further reduce arbitrariness in self-reported measures and derive more accurate, intertemporally and interpersonally comparable happiness metrics. How to evaluate national wellbeing based on the data collected from such a survey is also demonstrated. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

Volume (Year): 108 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 491-507

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Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:108:y:2012:i:3:p:491-507

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11135

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Related research

Keywords: Subjective wellbeing; Happiness survey; Day reconstruction method; Just perceivable increment; National wellbeing; Gross national happiness;

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  1. Yew-Kwang Ng, 1996. "Happiness surveys: Some comparability issues and an exploratory survey based on just perceivable increments," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 1-27, May.
  2. Richard Layard, 2009. "Well-Being Measurement and Public Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 145-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Edgeworth, Francis Ysidro, 1881. "Mathematical Psychics," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number edgeworth1881.
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  5. George Loewenstein, 2009. "That Which Makes Life Worthwhile," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 87-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Alan B. Krueger & Daniel Kahneman & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur A. Stone, 2008. "National Time Accounting: The Currency of Life," Working Papers 1061, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    • Alan B. Krueger & Daniel Kahneman & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur A. Stone, 2009. "National Time Accounting: The Currency of Life," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 9-86 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "Interpersonal Aggregation and Partial Comparability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(3), pages 393-409, May.
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  10. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
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  12. Yew-Kwang Ng, 2008. "Happiness Studies: Ways to Improve Comparability and Some Public Policy Implications," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 84(265), pages 253-266, 06.
  13. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  14. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1975. "Bentham or Bergson? Finite Sensibility, Utility Functions and Social Welfare Functions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 545-69, October.
  15. Gerhard Sichelstiel & Fritz Söllner, 1996. "Finite sensibility and utility functions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 25-41, January.
  16. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
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