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Identifying Welfare Effects from Subjective Questions

  • Ravallion, Martin
  • Lokshin, Michael

We argue that the welfare inferences drawn from answers to subjective-qualitative survey questions are clouded by concerns over the structure of measurement errors and how latent psychological factors influence observed respondent characteristics. We propose a panel data model that allows more robust tests and we estimate the model on a high-quality survey for Russia. We find significant income effects on an individual's subjective economic welfare. Demographic effects are weak at given income per capita. Ill-health and becoming unemployed lower welfare at given current income, although the unemployment effect is not robust, and returning to work does not restore welfare without an income gain. Copyright 2001 by The London School of Economics and Political Science

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 68 (2001)
Issue (Month): 271 (August)
Pages: 335-57

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:68:y:2001:i:271:p:335-57
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  1. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  2. Seidl, Christian, 1994. "How sensible is the Leyden individual welfare function of income?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1633-1659, October.
  3. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A.J., 1997. "A Study of Labour Markets and Youth Unemployment in Eastern Europe," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 499, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-364358 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Kapteyn, Arie, 1994. "The Measurement of Household Cost Functions: Revealed Preference versus Subjective Measures," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 333-50, November.
  6. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
  7. Kapteyn, A.J. & Kooreman, P. & Willemse, R., 1987. "Some methodological issues in the implementation of subjective poverty definitions," Research Memorandum FEW 245, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  8. Kapteyn, A.J., 1994. "The measurement of household cost functions : Revealed preference versus subjective measures," Discussion Paper 1994-3, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-364386 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Pradhan, Menno & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Measuring poverty using qualitative perceptions of welfare," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2011, The World Bank.
  11. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin & DEC, 1994. "Poverty and household size," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1332, The World Bank.
  12. Ed Diener & Eunkook Suh, 1997. "Measuring Quality Of Life: Economic, Social, And Subjective Indicators," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 189-216, January.
  13. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  14. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  15. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  16. repec:dgr:kubcen:19943 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. William A. Darity & Arthur H. Goldsmith, 1996. "Social Psychology, Unemployment and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
  18. Rose, Richard & McAllister, Ian, 1996. "Is Money the Measure of Welfare in Russia?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(1), pages 75-90, March.
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