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Do Danes and Italians Rate Life Satisfaction in the Same Way? Using Vignettes to Correct for Individual-Specific Scale Biases

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Author Info

  • Viola Angelini

    ()
    (University of Padua)

  • Danilo CAVAPOZZI

    ()
    (University of Padua)

  • Luca CORAZZINI

    ()
    (University of Padua)

  • Omar PACCAGNELLA

    ()
    (University of Padua)

Abstract

Self-reported life satisfaction is highly heterogeneous across similar countries. We show that this phenomenon can be largely explained by the fact that individuals adopt different scales and benchmarks in evaluating themselves. Using a cross sectional dataset on individuals aged 50 and over in ten European countries, we compare estimates from an Ordered Probit in which life satisfaction scales are invariant across respondents with those from a Hopit model in which vignettes are used to correct for individual-specific scale biases. We find that variations in response scales explain a large part of the differences found in raw data. Moreover, the crosscountry ranking in life satisfaction dramatically depends on scale biases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno" in its series "Marco Fanno" Working Papers with number 0090.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pad:wpaper:0090

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Keywords: Life satisfaction; scale biases; vignette; counterfactuals.;

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References

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  1. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Kristensen, Nicolai & Johansson, Edvard, 2008. "New evidence on cross-country differences in job satisfaction using anchoring vignettes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 96-117, February.
  3. Hendrik Jürges, 2006. "True health vs. response styles: Exploring cross-country differences in self-reported health," MEA discussion paper series 06105, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  4. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  5. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  6. Bago d'Uva T & Lindeboom M & O'Donnell O & van Doorslaer E, 2009. "Slipping Anchor? Testing the Vignettes Approach to Identification and Correction of Reporting Heterogeneity," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 09/30, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  7. Kapteyn, Arie & Smith, James P. & van Soest, Arthur, 2009. "Life Satisfaction," IZA Discussion Papers 4015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. repec:pse:psecon:2005-43 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O'Donnell, 2008. "Does reporting heterogeneity bias the measurement of health disparities?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 351-375.
  10. 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.
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  12. 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.
  13. Nigel Rice & Silvana Robone & Peter Smith, 2011. "Analysis of the validity of the vignette approach to correct for heterogeneity in reporting health system responsiveness," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 141-162, April.
  14. Van Praag, Bernard, 1971. "The welfare function of income in Belgium: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 337-369.
  15. Arthur van Soest & Tatiana Andreyeva & Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith, 2011. "Self-Reported Disability and Reference Groups," NBER Chapters, in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 237-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  17. Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590570, HAL.
  18. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Kristensen, Nicolai & Pozzoli, Dario, 2009. "External Validation of the Use of Vignettes in Cross-Country Health Studies," IZA Discussion Papers 3989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
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  21. van Beek, Krijn W. H. & Koopmans, Carl C. & van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1997. "Shopping at the labour market: A real tale of fiction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 295-317, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Kristensen, Nicolai & Pozzoli, Dario, 2009. "External Validation of the Use of Vignettes in Cross-Country Health Studies," IZA Discussion Papers 3989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Bonsang Eric & Soest Arthur van, 2010. "Satisfaction with job and income among older individuals across European countries," Research Memorandum 059, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  3. Andrew M. Jones; Nigel Rice, Silvana Robone; & Nigel Rice; & Silvana Robone:, 2012. "A comparison of parametric and non-parametric adjustments using vignettes for self-reported data," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/10, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. Christian Bjørnskov, 2010. "How Comparable are the Gallup World Poll Life Satisfaction Data?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 41-60, March.
  5. Omar Paccagnella, 2011. "Anchoring vignettes with sample selection due to non‐response," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 174(3), pages 665-687, 07.
  6. Miniaci, Raffaele & Han, Wei & Cavapozzi, Danilo, 2013. "Alternative weighting structures for multidimensional poverty assessment," Research Report 13018-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  7. Proto, Eugenio & Rustichini, 2012. "A Reassessment of the Relationship Between GDP and Life Satisfaction," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 94, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  8. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00566855 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Viola Angelini & Danilo Cavapozzi & Luca Corazzini & Omar Paccagnella, 2012. "Age, Health and Life Satisfaction Among Older Europeans," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 105(2), pages 293-308, January.

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