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Well-Being across America

Author

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  • Andrew J. Oswald

    (IZA Research Institute and Department of Economics University of Warwick, U.K.)

  • Stephen Wu

    (Hamilton College)

Abstract

This paper uses Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to study life satisfaction and mental health across the geography of the United States. The analysis draws on a sample of 1.3 million citizens. Initially we control for people's personal characteristics (though not income). There is no correlation between states' regression-adjusted well-being and their GDP per capita. States like Louisiana, plus Washington, D.C., have high psychological well-being levels; California and West Virginia have low well-being. When we control for incomes, satisfaction with life is lower in richer states, just as compensating-differentials theory would predict. Nevertheless, some puzzles remain. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew J. Oswald & Stephen Wu, 2011. "Well-Being across America," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1118-1134, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:4:p:1118-1134
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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