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Reported Subjective Well-Being: A Challenge for Economic Theory and Economic Policy

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  • Alois Stutzer
  • Bruno S. Frey

Abstract

Over the past few years, there has been a steadily increasing interest on the part of economists in happiness research. This paper argues that reported subjective well-being is a satisfactory empirical approximation to individual utility and endeavors to provide an impression of this new, and challenging, development. We study data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to better understand (i) the role of aspirations in the relationship between income and happiness and (ii) the effect of unemployment on people?s satisfaction with life. We discuss some of the consequences for economic policy and for economic theory.

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  • Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, 2003. "Reported Subjective Well-Being: A Challenge for Economic Theory and Economic Policy," CREMA Working Paper Series 2003-07, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2003-07
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    Cited by:

    1. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Stress that Doesn't Pay: The Commuting Paradox," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 339-366, June.
    2. Simon Luechinger & Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Why does unemployment hurt the employed?: evidence from the life satisfaction gap between the public and private sectors," Public Policy Discussion Paper 08-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 39-59, February.
    4. Simon Luechinger & Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Why Does Unemployment Hurt the Employed?: Evidence from the Life Satisfaction Gap Between the Public and the Private Sector," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 998-1045.
    5. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-12, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    6. Kohler, Ulrich, 2004. "Empirische Untersuchung zweier Individualisierungshypothesen mit Querschnittsdaten aus 28 Ländern," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2004-203, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    7. repec:spr:ariqol:v:13:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11482-017-9547-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ahuvia, Aaron, 2008. "If money doesn't make us happy, why do we act as if it does?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 491-507, August.
    9. Anna Cristina D’Addio & Simon Chapple & Andreas Hoherz & Bert Van Landeghem, 2014. "Using a quasi-natural experiment to identify the effects of birth-related leave policies on subjective well-being in Europe," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2013(1), pages 235-268.
    10. Jorgensen, Bradley S. & Jamieson, Robert D. & Martin, John F., 2010. "Income, sense of community and subjective well-being: Combining economic and psychological variables," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 612-623, August.
    11. Bruno S. Frey, 2011. "Subjective Well-Being, Politics and Political Economy," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 147(IV), pages 397-415, December.
    12. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2014. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 937-956, August.
    13. Jörg Döpke & Andreas Knabe & Cornelia Lang & Philip Maschke, 2017. "Multidimensional Well-being and Regional Disparities in Europe," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(5), pages 1026-1044, September.
    14. Simon Luechinger & Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Why Does Unemployment Hurt the Employed?: Evidence from the Life Satisfaction Gap Between the Public and the Private Sector," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 998-1045.
    15. Victoria Giarrizzo, 2009. "Subjective economic welfare: Beyond growth," Economía, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales (IIES). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Sociales. Universidad de Los Andes. Mérida, Venezuela, vol. 34(28), pages 9-34, July-Dece.
    16. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness: A New Approach in Economics," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 8(4), pages 3-7, 01.
    17. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Comparing Consumption: A Curse or a Blessing?," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-382, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    18. Schwarz, Peter, 2012. "Neighborhood effects of high unemployment rates: Welfare implications among different social groups," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 180-188.
    19. Claudia Burgard & Katja Görlitz, 2014. "Continuous training, job satisfaction and gender: An empirical analysis using German panel data," Evidence-based HRM: A Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(2), pages 126-144, October.
    20. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
    21. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2009. "Glück ? die ökonomische Analyse," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-11, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    22. Paul, Satya & Guilbert, Daniel, 2013. "Income–happiness paradox in Australia: Testing the theories of adaptation and social comparison," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 900-910.
    23. Maria Cracolici & Francesca Giambona & Miranda Cuffaro, 2014. "Family Structure and Subjective Economic Well-Being: Some New Evidence," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 433-456, August.
    24. van de Wetering, E.J. & van Exel, N.J.A. & Brouwer, W.B.F., 2010. "Piecing the jigsaw puzzle of adolescent happiness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 923-935, December.
    25. Daniel Fujiwara, 2013. "A General Method for Valuing Non-Market Goods Using Wellbeing Data: Three-Stage Wellbeing Valuation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1233, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    aspiration level; relative income; subjective well-being; unemployment; utility;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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