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Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Well‐Being

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  • Justin Wolfers

Abstract

This paper analyses the effects of business cycle volatility on measures of subjective well‐being, including self‐reported happiness and life satisfaction. I find robust evidence that high inflation and, to a greater extent, unemployment lower perceived well‐being. Greater macroeconomic volatility also undermines well‐being. These effects are moderate but important: eliminating unemployment volatility would raise well‐being by an amount roughly equal to that from lowering the average level of unemployment by a quarter of a percentage point. The effects of inflation volatility on well‐being are less easy to detect and are likely smaller.

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  • Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Well‐Being," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 1-26, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:intfin:v:6:y:2003:i:1:p:1-26
    DOI: 10.1111/1468-2362.00112
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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