Understanding context effects for a measure of life evaluation: how responses matter
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.
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Volume (Year): 68 (2016)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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