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Subjective Well-Being as Welfare Measure: Concepts and Methodology

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  • Fischer, Justina AV

Abstract

Happiness research is on the rise, but is confounded by competing definitions of subjective well-being based on co-existing concepts, resulting in differing measures and giving rise to different potential policy applications. This paper motivates the societal necessity for using well-being indicators and gives a short overview of the relation between the concepts ‘subjective well-being’, ‘affect’, ‘life satisfaction’, and ‘happiness’. It describes their measurements and operationalizations in surveys, illustrates their philosophical roots, discusses their validity and reliability, and attempts to shed light on the scope of their policy applicability. Focus of this paper is on practical issues when applying measures of subjective well-being for policy evaluations. Target audiences of this paper are the interested public and laypersons, non-expert economists, and statisticians.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16619.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16619

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Keywords: Happiness; Life Satisfaction; Subjective Well-Being; Concepts; Methodology; Measurement; Econometrics; History; Behavioral Economics;

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References

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  1. Ateca-Amestoy, Victoria & Serrano-del-Rosal, Rafael & Vera-Toscano, Esperanza, 2008. "The leisure experience," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 64-78, February.
  2. Ruut Veenhoven, 2000. "The Four Qualities of Life," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-39, March.
  3. Mary C. Daly & Daniel J. Wilson & Norman J. Johnson, 2012. "Relative status and well-being: evidence from U.S. suicide deaths," Working Paper Series 2012-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. 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.
  5. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2008. "Direct democracy and life satisfaction revisited: new evidence for Switzerland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 227-255, June.
  6. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Hypertension and Happiness across Nations," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 792, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Fischer, Justina AV, 2009. "Happiness and age cycles – return to start…," MPRA Paper 15249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Daniel Kahneman & Richard H. Thaler, 2006. "Anomalies: Utility Maximization and Experienced Utility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 221-234, Winter.
  9. repec:nbr:nberwo:13317 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Justina A.V. Fischer & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2007. "Personality, Job Satisfaction and Health - The Mediating Influence of Affectivity," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-31, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  11. Courard-Hauri, David, 2007. "Using Monte Carlo analysis to investigate the relationship between overconsumption and uncertain access to one's personal utility function," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 152-162, October.
  12. 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.
  13. Willem Saris & Theresia van Wijk & Annette Scherpenzeel, 1998. "Validity and Reliability of Subjective Social Indicators: The effect of different measures of association," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 173-199, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina A.V. Fischer, 2008. "Formal Institutions and Subjective Well-Being: Revisiting the Cross-Country Evidence," KOF Working papers 08-192, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  2. Bjornskov, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Fischer, Justina AV & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2009. "On the relation between income inequality and happiness: Do fairness perceptions matter?," MPRA Paper 19502, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina A.V. Fischer & Jan Schnellenbach, 2010. "Inequality and Happiness: When Perceived Social Mobility and Economic Reality do not Match," CESifo Working Paper Series 3216, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Dedehouanou, Senakpon & Maertens, Miet, 2011. "Participation in Modern Agri-Food Supply Chain in Senegal and Happiness," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114447, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. Fischer, Justina AV, 2009. "The Welfare Effects of Social Mobility: An Analysis for OECD countries," MPRA Paper 17070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Fischer, Justina AV, 2010. "Accounting for Unobserved Country Heterogeneity in Happiness Research: Country Fixed Effects versus Region Fixed Effects," MPRA Paper 22272, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M., 2012. "Pain at the pump: Gasoline prices and subjective well-being," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 160-175.

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