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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. 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, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen 2007-31, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  2. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March.
  4. Fischer, Justina AV, 2009. "Happiness and age cycles – return to start…," MPRA Paper 15249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. 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, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 173-199, November.
  6. 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, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 152-162, October.
  7. Daniel Kahneman & Richard H. Thaler, 2006. "Anomalies: Utility Maximization and Experienced Utility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 221-234, Winter.
  8. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  9. Ruut Veenhoven, 2000. "The Four Qualities of Life," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-39, March.
  10. 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, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 227-255, June.
  11. Mary C. Daly & Daniel J. Wilson & Norman J. Johnson, 2012. "Relative status and well-being: evidence from U.S. suicide deaths," Working Paper Series, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 2012-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  12. 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, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 64-78, February.
  13. repec:nbr:nberwo:13317 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Bjørnskov, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Fischer, Justina A. V. & Schnellenbach, Jan & Gehring, Kai, 2013. "Inequality and happiness: When perceived social mobility and economic reality do not match," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 13/2, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
  3. Bjørnskov, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Fischer, Justina A.V., 2010. "Formal institutions and subjective well-being: Revisiting the cross-country evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 419-430, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Justina AV Fischer, 2010. "Accounting for Unobserved Country Heterogeneity in Happiness Research: Country Fixed Effects versus Region Fixed Effects," CEIS Research Paper, Tor Vergata University, CEIS 164, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 28 May 2010.
  6. Fischer, Justina AV, 2009. "The Welfare Effects of Social Mobility: An Analysis for OECD countries," MPRA Paper 17070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. 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, European Association of Agricultural Economists 114447, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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