The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures
AbstractThis paper studies the test-retest reliability of a standard self-reported life satisfaction measure and of affect measures collected from a diary method. The sample consists of 229 women who were interviewed on Thursdays, two weeks apart, in Spring 2005. The correlation of net affect (i.e., duration-weighted positive feelings less negative feelings) measured two weeks apart is 0.64, which is slightly higher than the correlation of life satisfaction (r=0.59). Correlations between income, net affect and life satisfaction are presented, and adjusted for attenuation bias due to measurement error. Life satisfaction is found to correlate much more strongly with income than does net affect. Components of affect that are more person-specific are found to have a higher test-retest reliability than components of affect that are more specific to the particular situation. While reliability figures for subjective well-being measures are lower than those typically found for education, income and many other microeconomic variables, they are probably sufficiently high to support much of the research that is currently being undertaken on subjective well-being, particularly in studies where group means are compared (e.g., across activities or demographic groups).
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13027.
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General
- I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-04-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-HAP-2007-04-14 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-LTV-2007-04-14 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001.
"What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
503, CESifo Group Munich.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
- Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 1999.
"The macroeconomics of happiness,"
ZEI Working Papers
B 03-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
- 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.
- Di Tella, R. & MacCulloch, R.J.: Oswald, A.J., 1997. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," Papers 19, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1978.
"Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable,"
NBER Working Papers
0225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004.
"Well-being over time in Britain and the USA,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
- Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jonathan Gruber & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002.
"Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier?,"
NBER Working Papers
8872, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
- M Patterson & P Warr & M West, 2004. "Organizational Climate and Company Productivity: the Role of Employee Affect and Employee Level," CEP Discussion Papers dp0626, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2004.
"Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study,"
Scandinavian Journal of Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 393-415, October.
- Sonja Lyubomirsky & Heidi Lepper, 1999. "A Measure of Subjective Happiness: Preliminary Reliability and Construct Validation," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 137-155, February.
- Michael Eid & Ed Diener, 2004. "Global Judgments of Subjective Well-Being: Situational Variability and Long-Term Stability," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 245-277, February.
- repec:pri:cepsud:77 is not listed on IDEAS
- Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
- Richard Kammann & Marcelle Farry & Peter Herbison, 1984. "The analysis and measurement of happiness as a sense of well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 91-115, August.
- Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998.
"Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics,"
780, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Nicolai Kristensen & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2007. "Reliability of job satisfaction measures," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 273-292, June.
- John Yardley & Robert Rice, 1991. "The relationship between mood and subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 101-111, February.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.