Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-being: Evidence from the USA
AbstractA huge research literature, across the behavioral and social sciences, uses information on individuals' subjective well-being. These are responses to questions – asked by survey interviewers or medical personnel – such as "how happy do you feel on a scale from 1 to 4?" Yet there is little scientific evidence that such data are meaningful. This study examines a 2005-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System random sample of 1.3 million United States citizens. Life-satisfaction in each U.S. state is measured. Across America, people's answers trace out the same pattern of quality of life as previously estimated, using solely non-subjective data, in a literature from economics (so-called 'compensating differentials' neoclassical theory due originally to Adam Smith). There is a state-by-state match (r = 0.6, p
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4695.
Length: 10 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Science, 2010, 327 (5965), 576 - 579
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-02-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-HAP-2010-02-13 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HPE-2010-02-13 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2010-02-13 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
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