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The impact of inflation and unemployment on subjective personal and country evaluations

Listed author(s):
  • Néstor Gándelman
  • Rubén Hernández-Murillo

The authors use data from the Gallup World Poll to analyze what determines individual assessments of past, present, and future personal and country well-being. These measures allow the analysis of two dimensions of happiness data not previously examined in the literature: the better-than-average effect and optimism. The authors find that individuals tend to evaluate their personal well-being as being better than their country's and tend to expect that their future well-being will improve. The authors also analyze the impact of inflation and unemployment on these subjective measures and find that both variables have a negative effect on individuals' assessments of past and present well-being for themselves and their country; in contrast with other studies, however, they do not find that the effect of unemployment is significantly different from that of inflation.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2009)
Issue (Month): May ()
Pages: 107-126

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2009:i:may:p:107-126:n:v.91no.3
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  1. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CEPR Discussion Papers 6944, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  4. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
  5. Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Wellbeing," NBER Working Papers 9619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
  7. Jean Pierre Benoit & Juan Dubra, 2008. "Overconfidence?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002142, David K. Levine.
  8. Di Tella, R. & MacCulloch, R.J.: Oswald, A.J., 1997. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," Papers 19, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  9. Arjun Jayadev, "undated". "The Class Content of Preferences Towards Anti-Inflation and Anti Unemployment Policies," Working Papers 8, University of Massachusetts Boston, Economics Department.
  10. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
  11. Scoppa Vincenzo & Ponzo Michela, 2008. "An Empirical Study of Happiness in Italy," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-23, June.
  12. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  13. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  14. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "Is Unemployment More Costly Than Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 13505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2001. "Inflation and the Poor," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 160-178, May.
  16. Benoît, Jean-Pierre & Dubra, Juan & Moore, Don, 2009. "Does the Better-Than-Average Effect Show That People Are Overconfident?: An Experiment," MPRA Paper 13168, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Chuang, Wen-I & Lee, Bong-Soo, 2006. "An empirical evaluation of the overconfidence hypothesis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 2489-2515, September.
  18. Michael C. & Pao-Lin Tien, 2000. "Economic Discomfort and Consumer Sentiment," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, Winter.
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