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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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    Cited by:

    1. Terence C. Cheng & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Andrew J. Oswald, 2017. "Longitudinal Evidence for a Midlife Nadir in Human Well‐being: Results from Four Data Sets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(599), pages 126-142, February.
    2. Lalji, Chitwan & Pakrashi, Debayan & Smyth, Russell, 2018. "Can eating five fruit and veg a day really keep the doctor away?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 320-330.
    3. Dan S. Rickman, 2014. "Assessing Regional Quality of Life: A Call for Action in Regional Science," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 44(1), pages 1-12, Spring.
    4. Eugenio Proto & Andrew J. Oswald, 2017. "National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2127-2152, September.
    5. O'Donnell, Gus & Oswald, Andrew J., 2015. "National well-being policy and a weighted approach to human feelings," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 59-70.
    6. repec:esx:essedp:729 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Breinlich, Holger & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2014. "Regional Growth and Regional Decline," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 683-779 Elsevier.
    8. José Giménez-Nadal & Raquel Ortega, 2015. "Time Dedicated to Family by University Students: Differences by Academic Area in a Case Study," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 132-142, March.
    9. Blanchflower, David G; Oswald, Andrew, 2011. "International Happiness," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 39, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    10. Ahmadiani, Mona & Ferreira, Susana, 2018. "Well-being Effects of Extreme Weather Events in the United States," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274433, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman & M. Rose Olfert & Ying Tan, 2015. "When Spatial Equilibrium Fails: Is Place-Based Policy Second Best?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(8), pages 1303-1325, August.
    12. Ahmadiani, Mona & Ferreira, Susana, 2016. "Well-being Effects of Extreme Weather Events in the US," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236259, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Karen Maguire & John V. Winters, 2017. "Satisfaction and Self-Employment: Do Women Benefit More from Being Their Own Boss?," Economics Working Paper Series 1713, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
    14. Barbara Dluhosch & Daniel Horgos, 2013. "Trading Up the Happiness Ladder," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 973-990, September.
    15. Ann L. Owen & Anne Phillips, 2016. "How Does the Life Satisfaction of the Poor, Least Educated, and Least Satisfied Change as Average Life Satisfaction Increases?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(6), pages 2389-2406, December.
    16. Bert Van Landeghem, 2012. "Panel Conditioning and Self-Reported Satisfaction: Evidence from International Panel Data and Repeated Cross-Sections," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 484, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    17. Mark D., Partridge & Dan S., Rickman & M. Rose, Olfert & Kamar, Ali, 2010. "Dwindling U.S. Internal Migration: Evidence of Spatial Equilibrium?," MPRA Paper 28157, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Betsy Donald & Mia Gray & Centre for Business Research, 2018. "The Double Crisis: In What Sense A Regional Problem?," Working Papers wp507, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    19. Michaelsen, Maren M., 2012. "Mental Health and Labour Supply – Evidence from Mexico's Ongoing Violent Conflicts," Ruhr Economic Papers 378, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    20. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Abrevaya, Jason, 2013. "Beauty is the promise of happiness?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 351-368.
    21. John F. Helliwell & Hugh Shiplett & Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh, 2018. "How Happy are Your Neighbours? Variation in Life Satisfaction among 1200 Canadian Neighbourhoods and Communities," NBER Working Papers 24592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Eugenio Proto & Andrew J. Oswald, 2017. "National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2127-2152, September.
    23. Karen Maguire & John V. Winters, 2016. "Energy Boom and Gloom? Local Effects of Oil and Natural Gas Drilling on Subjective Well-Being," Economics Working Paper Series 1607, Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business.
    24. Yakovlev, Pavel & Leguizamon, Susane, 2012. "Ignorance is not bliss: On the role of education in subjective well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 806-815.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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