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Bias in the Relative Assessment of Happiness,Political Stance, Height and Weight

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  • Proto, Eugenio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

Cognitive biases have been a recognised feature of research into human behaviour since at least Kahneman and Tversky’s ground-breaking work of the 1970s. We find that such biases extend into the realm of perceptions about relative happiness and we compare and contrast this phenomenon across three other characteristics : height, weight and political stance. Our findings indicate a powerful and consistent bias in the way individuals perceive their place in the population distribution. In particular, those at extremes perceive a population distribution that is incorrectly and heavily biased towards themselves,irrespective of whether the characteristic is objective and easily observed or not.

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 943.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:943

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  1. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  2. 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, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Carrieri, Vincenzo & De Paola, Maria, 2012. "Height and subjective well-being in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 289-298.
  2. Vincenzo Carrieri & Maria De Paola, 2011. "The Effects Of Peoples’ Height And Relative Height On Well-Being," Working Papers 201110, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza (Ex Dipartimento di Economia e Statistica).

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