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Hedonic recall bias. Why you should not ask people how much they earn

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  • Prati, Alberto

Abstract

The empirical literature which explores the effect of wage on job satisfaction typically uses data drawn from social surveys. In these surveys, the amount of wage is reported by the respondents themselves: thus, the explanatory variable of the econometric models may differ from the true wage people earn. Our paper shows that the use of survey data can lead to considerable over-estimation of the importance of wage as a determinant of wage satisfaction. In particular, responses seem to be affected by a recall bias: people who are satisfied with their wage are more likely to over-report their wage in questionnaires. The more satisfied they are the more they over-report (and vice versa unsatisfied people). We name this behavioral disposition “hedonic recall bias”.

Suggested Citation

  • Prati, Alberto, 2017. "Hedonic recall bias. Why you should not ask people how much they earn," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 78-97.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:78-97
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.09.002
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    4. Grissom, Jason A. & Timmer, Jennifer D. & Nelson, Jennifer L. & Blissett, Richard S.L., 2021. "Unequal pay for equal work? Unpacking the gender gap in principal compensation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    5. Pelz, Setu & Chindarkar, Namrata & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2021. "Energy access for marginalized communities: Evidence from rural North India, 2015–2018," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Recall bias; Job satisfaction; Wage satisfaction; Measurement error; Survey income;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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