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Priming and the Reliability of Subjective Well-being Measures

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Author Info

  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Dobson, Alexander

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

Economists and behavioural scientists are beginning to make extensive use of measures of subjective well-being, and such data are potentially of value to policy-makers. A particularly famous difficulty is that of “priming”: if the order or nature of survey questions changes people’s likely replies then we have grounds to be concerned about the reliability of well-being data and inferences from them. This study tests for priming effects from important life events. It presents evidence from a laboratory experiment which indicates that subjective well-being measures are in general robust to such concerns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 935.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:935

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Keywords: happiness ; life satisfaction ; subjective well-being ; priming; surveys JEL Codes: D03 ; C83 ; C91;

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References

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  1. Alan B. Krueger & David A. Schkade, 2007. "The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures," NBER Working Papers 13027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Oswald, Andrew & Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel, 2013. "Happiness and Productivity," CAGE Online Working Paper Series, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) 108, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  4. Ed Diener, 1994. "Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 103-157, February.
  5. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  6. Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel & Oswald, Andrew J., 2010. "Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4755, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. John Yardley & Robert Rice, 1991. "The relationship between mood and subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 101-111, February.
  8. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  9. William Pavot & Ed Diener, 1993. "The affective and cognitive context of self-reported measures of subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 1-20, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Bert Van Landeghem, 2012. "Panel Conditioning and Self-Reported Satisfaction: Evidence from International Panel Data and Repeated Cross-Sections," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 484, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi & Andrew Oswald, 2012. "Are happiness and productivity lower among young people with newly-divorced parents? An experimental and econometric approach," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, March.

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