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If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! Survey design and the analysis of satisfaction

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  • Conti, Gabriella
  • Pudney, Stephen

Abstract

Surveys differ in the way they measure satisfaction and happiness, so comparative research findings are vulnerable to distortion by survey design differences. We examine this using the British Household Panel Survey, exploiting its changes in question design and parallel use of different interview modes. We find significant biases in econometric results, particularly for gender differences in attitudes to the wage and hours of work. Results suggest that the common empirical finding that women care less than men about their wage and more about their hours may be an artifact of survey design rather than a real behavioural difference.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2008-39.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2008
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2008-39

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Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2001. "The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 1-30.
  2. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2005. "Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 39-54.
  3. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
  4. Clark, A.E., 1995. "Job Satisfaction and Gender: Why Are Women so Happy at Work?," DELTA Working Papers 95-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1994. "Satisfaction and comparison income," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9408, CEPREMAP.
  6. Louis Lévy-Garboua & Claude Montmarquette, 1997. "Reported Job Satisfaction: What Does It Mean?," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-09, CIRANO.
  7. Mark P. Taylor, 2006. "Tell me why I don't like Mondays: investigating day of the week effects on job satisfaction and psychological well-being," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(1), pages 127-142.
  8. Nicolai Kristensen & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2007. "Reliability of job satisfaction measures," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 273-292, June.
  9. Matthias Benz, 2005. "Not for the Profit, but for the Satisfaction? - Evidence on Worker Well-Being in Non-Profit Firms," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 155-176, 04.
  10. Shields, Michael A & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2002. "Racial Harassment, Job Satisfaction and Intentions to Quit: Evidence from the British Nursing Profession," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(274), pages 295-26, May.
  11. Alison L. Booth & Jan C. van Ours, 2007. "Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-time Work Puzzle," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series, The University of Melbourne 1000, The University of Melbourne.
  12. Das, J.W.M. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 1996. "A Panel Data Model for Subjective Information on Household Income Growth," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 1996-75, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Sousa-Poza, Andres A., 2000. "Well-being at work: a cross-national analysis of the levels and determinants of job satisfaction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 517-538, November.
  14. Booth, A.L. & Ours, J.C. van, 2007. "Job Satisfaction And Family Happiness: The Part-Time Work Problem," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2007-69, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  15. Michael Rose, 2005. "Job Satisfaction in Britain: Coping with Complexity," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(3), pages 455-467, 09.
  16. repec:ese:iserwp:2006-42 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen, 1988. "Job Switching and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 495-594.
  18. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  19. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, Elsevier, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  20. Paolo Ghinetti, 2007. "The Public-Private Job Satisfaction Differential in Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, CEIS, vol. 21(2), pages 361-388, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Wunder, Christoph & Heineck, Guido, 2012. "Working time preferences, hours mismatch and well-being of couples: Are there spillovers?," BERG Working Paper Series 85, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
  2. Domenico Tabasso, 2009. "Temporary Contracts and Monopsony Power in the UK Labour Market," Economics Discussion Papers, University of Essex, Department of Economics 675, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  3. Berry, Mary O'Neill & Reichman, Walter & Klobas, Jane & MacLachlan, Malcolm & Hui, Harry C. & Carr, Stuart C., 2011. "Humanitarian work psychology: The contributions of organizational psychology to poverty reduction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 240-247, March.
  4. Smith, Jennifer C, 2013. "Pay Growth, Fairness and Job Satisfaction : Implications for Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1009, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

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