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Understanding context effects for a measure of life evaluation: how responses matter

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Listed:
  • Angus Deaton
  • Arthur A. Stone

Abstract

We study context effects on responses to wellbeing questions. We find that those who were randomized into being asked a series of political questions subsequently report lower life evaluation; those who were previously asked about their evaluation of the direction of the United States lowered their own life evaluation, but only if they disapproved of the way the country was going. Subgroups of the population are affected in different ways; the age profile of wellbeing is tipped in favor of the elderly, and African American’s life evaluations are increased when they are asked about President Obama’s performance. The context effects are large, not easily removed, and change wellbeing rankings across groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Angus Deaton & Arthur A. Stone, 2016. "Understanding context effects for a measure of life evaluation: how responses matter," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 861-870.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:68:y:2016:i:4:p:861-870.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oep/gpw022
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Reasons to be Cheerful -- 1, 2, 3 by Mark Harrison
      by Mark Harrison in Mark Harrison's blog on 2016-12-31 22:26:29

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:81-85 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Daniel J. Benjamin & Kristen B. Cooper & Ori Heffetz & Miles Kimball, 2017. "Challenges in Constructing a Survey-Based Well-Being Index," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 81-85, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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