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Well-being across America

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Author Info

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    ()
    (University of Warwick)

  • Wu, Stephen

    ()
    (Hamilton College)

Abstract

This paper uses new Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to provide the first estimates of well-being across the states of America. From this sample of 1.3 million US citizens, we analyze measures of life satisfaction and mental health. Adjusting for people's characteristics, states such as Louisiana and DC have high psychological well-being levels while California and West Virginia have low well-being; there is no correlation between states' well-being and their GDP per capita. Correcting for people's incomes, satisfaction with life is lowest in the rich states. We discuss implications for the arbitrage theory that regions provide equal utility and compensating differentials.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp4600.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4600.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2011, 93 (4), 1118-1134
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4600

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Related research

Keywords: depression; mental health; compensating differentials; BRFSS; geography; happiness; GHQ; Easterlin Paradox; life course;

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References

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Oswald, Andrew J & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2007. "Obesity, Unhappiness, and The Challenge of Affluence : Theory and Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 793, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Is Well-Being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?," IZA Discussion Papers 3075, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Mattey, Joe P. & Wascher, William L., 2003. "Compensating differentials and evolution in the quality-of-life among U.S. states," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 619-649, September.
  4. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Happiness Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2009. "The U-Shape without Controls," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 896, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Exploring the economic and social determinants of psychological well-being and perceived social support in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(3), pages 513-537.
  8. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert J. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 615, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  10. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  11. M. Pittau & Roberto Zelli & Andrew Gelman, 2010. "Economic Disparities and Life Satisfaction in European Regions," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 96(2), pages 339-361, April.
  12. Theodossiou, I., 1998. "The effects of low-pay and unemployment on psychological well-being: A logistic regression approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 85-104, January.
  13. Simon Luechinger, 2009. "Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 482-515, 03.
  14. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  15. Levinson, Arik, 2012. "Valuing public goods using happiness data: The case of air quality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 869-880.
  16. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2009. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 4200, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Paul Dolan & Tessa Peasgood, 2008. "Measuring Well-Being for Public Policy: Preferences or Experiences?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages S5-S31, 06.
  18. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
  19. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  20. Moro, Mirko & Brereton, Finbarr & Ferreira, Susana & Clinch, J. Peter, 2008. "Ranking quality of life using subjective well-being data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 448-460, April.
  21. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  22. Carol Graham, 2005. "Insights on Development from the Economics of Happiness," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 201-231.
  23. Pham-Kanter, Genevieve, 2009. "Social comparisons and health: Can having richer friends and neighbors make you sick?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 335-344, August.
  24. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur Stone, 2004. "Toward National Well-Being Accounts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 429-434, May.
  25. Ed Diener & Robert Biswas-Diener, 2002. "Will Money Increase Subjective Well-Being?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 119-169, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Happiness in US states
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-12-14 15:01:40
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Bert Van Landeghem, 2012. "Panel Conditioning and Self-Reported Satisfaction: Evidence from International Panel Data and Repeated Cross-Sections," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 484, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Holger Breinlich & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Jonathan R. W. Temple, 2013. "Regional growth and regional decline," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51575, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Mark D., Partridge & Dan S., Rickman & M. Rose, Olfert & Kamar, Ali, 2010. "Dwindling U.S. Internal Migration: Evidence of Spatial Equilibrium?," MPRA Paper 28157, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Proto, Eugenio & Oswald, Andrew J., 2014. "National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration," IZA Discussion Papers 8300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jason Abrevaya, 2011. ""Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness"?," NBER Working Papers 17327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Cheng, Terence C. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Oswald, Andrew J., 2014. "Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well-being: Results from Four Data Sets," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 187, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  7. Maren M. Michaelsen, 2012. "Mental Health and Labour Supply – Evidence from Mexico‘s Ongoing Violent Conflicts," Ruhr Economic Papers 0378, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  8. Yakovlev, Pavel & Leguizamon, Susane, 2012. "Ignorance is not bliss: On the role of education in subjective well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 806-815.
  9. Partridge, Mark D. & Rickman, Dan S. & Olfert, M. Rose & Tan, Ying, 2012. "When spatial equilibrium fails: is place-based policy second best?," MPRA Paper 40270, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Barbara Dluhosch & Daniel Horgos, 2013. "Trading Up the Happiness Ladder," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 973-990, September.

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