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Life Satisfaction

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  • Arie Kapteyn

    ()

  • James P. Smith

    ()

  • Arthur Van Soest

    ()

Abstract

The authors analyze the determinants of global life satisfaction in two countries (The Netherlands and the U.S.), by using both self-reports and responses to a battery of vignette questions. They find global life satisfaction of happiness is well-described by four domains: job or daily activities, social contacts and family, health, and income. Among the four domains, social contacts and family have the highest impact on global life satisfaction, followed by job and daily activities and health. Income has the lowest impact. As in other work, they find that American response styles differ from the Dutch in that Americans are more likely to use the extremes of the scale (either very satisfied or very dissatisfied) than the Dutch, who are more inclined to stay in the middle of the scale. Although for both Americans and the Dutch, income is the least important determinant of global life satisfaction, it is more important in the U.S. than in The Netherlands. Indeed life satisfaction varies substantially more with income in the U.S. than in The Netherlands.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 623-1.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:623-1

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Keywords: happiness; life satisfaction; vignettes; reporting bias;

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References

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  1. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CEPR Discussion Papers 6944, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
  4. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Arie Kapteyn & Arthur Van Soest & James P Smith, 2008. "Validating the Use of Vignettes for Subjective Threshold Scales," Working Papers 200808, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  6. Stadt, H. van de & Geer, S.A. van de & Kapteyn, A.J., 1985. "The relativity of utility: Evidence from panel data," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-364325, Tilburg University.
  7. Di Tella, Rafael & Alesina, Alberto & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," Scholarly Articles 4553007, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Rafael Di Tella & John Haisken-De New & Robert MacCulloch, 2007. "Happiness Adaptation to Income and to Status in an Individual Panel," NBER Working Papers 13159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  10. 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.
  11. Kapteyn, A. & Smith, J.P. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 2011. "Are Americans Really Less Happy With Their Incomes?," Discussion Paper 2011-059, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2004. "Self-reported Work Disability in the US and The Netherlands," Working Papers 206, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  13. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Kapteyn, Smith and VanSoest - Life Satisfaction
    by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2009-08-03 21:29:00
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Cited by:
  1. Angelini, V.; & Cavapozzi, D.; & Corazzini L.; & Paccagnell O.;, 2011. "Do Danes and Italians Rate Life Satisfaction in the Same Way? Using Vignettes to Correct for Individual-Specific Scale Biases," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 11/20, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2011. "Vignette Equivalence and Response Consistency: The Case of Job Satisfaction," IZA Discussion Papers 6174, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Denis Gerstorf & Nilam Ram & Jan Goebel & J├╝rgen Schupp & Ulman Lindenberger & Gert G. Wagner, 2010. "Where People Live and Die Makes a Difference: Individual and Geographic Disparities in Well-Being Progression at the End of Life," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 287, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. van Rooij, Maarten C.J. & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J.M., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in the Netherlands," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 593-608, August.
  5. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Bernard M.S. Van Praag & Ioannis Theodossiou, 2011. "Vignette Equivalence and Response Consistency; The Case of Job Satisfaction," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-167/3, Tinbergen Institute.

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