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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. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley, 2000. "Inflation and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2335, The World Bank.
  2. 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.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Well-Being," Research Papers 1751r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  10. Benoît, Jean-Pierre & Dubra, Juan, 2007. "Overconfidence?," MPRA Paper 5505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "Is Unemployment More Costly Than Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 13505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Arjun Jayadev, 2008. "The class content of preferences towards anti-inflation and anti-unemployment policies," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 161-172.
  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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