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Third Person Effects in Interview Responses on Life Satisfaction

  • Chadi, Adrian

This paper investigates the finding that reported life satisfaction scores are significantly higher in the German Socio-Economic Panel when a third person is present during the interview. Even after controlling a variety of relevant factors, third person presence makes up a significant difference in satisfaction levels. A plausible explanation is that interviewees distort their responses in a favourable way. The evidence suggests that this apparently minor aspect could even affect empirical outcomes in happiness research. This study contributes to the literature in this field, especially with respect to the recently revived debate on survey methodology in the reporting of satisfaction.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3790/schm.133.2.323
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Article provided by Duncker & Humblot, Berlin in its journal Schmollers Jahrbuch.

Volume (Year): 133 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 323-333

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Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v133_y2013_i2_q2_p323-333
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  1. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2012. "Heresy or enlightenment? The well-being age U-shape effect is flat," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 235-238.
  3. Ed Diener & Ed Sandvik & William Pavot & Dennis Gallagher, 1991. "Response artifacts in the measurement of subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 35-56, February.
  4. Paul Dolan & Georgios Kavetsos, 2012. "Happy Talk: Mode of Administration Effects on Subjective Well-Being," CEP Discussion Papers dp1159, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Albert Kozma & M. Stones, 1988. "Social desirability in measures of subjective well-being: Age comparisons," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 1-14, February.
  6. 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).
  7. Paul Frijters & Tony Beatton, 2008. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," NCER Working Paper Series 26, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  8. Adrian Chadi, 2012. "I would really love to participate in your survey! Bias problems in the measurement of well-being," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 3111-3119.
  9. Ivar Krumpal, 2013. "Determinants of social desirability bias in sensitive surveys: a literature review," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 2025-2047, June.
  10. Gabriella Conti & Stephen Pudney, 2011. "Survey Design and the Analysis of Satisfaction," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 1087-1093, August.
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