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

  • 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. 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.
  2. Benoît, Jean-Pierre & Dubra, Juan, 2008. "Overconfidence?," MPRA Paper 8879, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "Is Unemployment More Costly Than Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 13505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. 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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  7. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Wellbeing," NBER Working Papers 9619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Bernard M.S. van Praag & P. Frijters & A. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2002. "The Anatomy of Subjective Well-being," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-022/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
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  13. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," NBER Working Papers 14282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
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  16. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
  17. 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.
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