IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cty/dpaper/19-12.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Which Decision Theory Describes Life Satisfaction Best? Evidence from Annual Panel Data

Author

Listed:
  • Yaman, F.
  • Cubi-Molla, P.
  • Ungureanu, S.

Abstract

We use an annual household panel to test which features of prospect theory can be supported by measures of life satisfaction. We also test whether recalled or expected life satisfaction is anchored at current life satisfaction and adjusted in the direction of the recall or expectation. Using a fixed effects estimator we find that life satisfaction contains features of both classic expected utility and prospect theory. Life satisfaction depends positively on levels of income, good health, and on employment. It also depends positively on income and employment improvements, however the reverse is true for health increases. Life satisfaction is concave in income gains and convex in income losses, and it exhibits loss aversion in income and employment status, but not in health. Moreover, we find that current levels of life satisfaction are better predictors of recalled (expected) life satisfaction than past (future) life satisfaction. The results support viewing life satisfaction as representing a mixture of the classic decision utility of expected utility theory, and the value function of prospect theory. Subjects seem to use an anchoring and adjustment heuristic when answering questions about past and expected life satisfaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Yaman, F. & Cubi-Molla, P. & Ungureanu, S., 2019. "Which Decision Theory Describes Life Satisfaction Best? Evidence from Annual Panel Data," Working Papers 19/12, Department of Economics, City University London.
  • Handle: RePEc:cty:dpaper:19/12
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/22492/1/Dept_Econ_WP1912.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2013. "Subjective Well-Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 598-604, May.
    2. Gregori Baetschmann & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2015. "Consistent estimation of the fixed effects ordered logit model," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 178(3), pages 685-703, June.
    3. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D’Ambrosio & Simone Ghislandi, 2016. "Adaptation to Poverty in Long-Run Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 591-600, July.
    4. Sacks, Daniel W. & Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2012. "The New Stylized Facts about Income and Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 7105, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Fang, Zheng & Niimi, Yoko, 2017. "Does everyone exhibit loss aversion? Evidence from a panel quantile regression analysis of subjective well-being in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 79-90.
    6. Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
    7. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    8. Levinson, Arik, 2012. "Valuing public goods using happiness data: The case of air quality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 869-880.
    9. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    10. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    11. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    12. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    13. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2015. "Heterogeneity in the Relationship Between Unemployment and Subjective Wellbeing: A Quantile Approach," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(328), pages 865-891, October.
    14. George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1209-1248.
    15. Andrew E. Clark, 2018. "Four Decades of the Economics of Happiness: Where Next?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(2), pages 245-269, June.
    16. Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Alex Rees-Jones, 2014. "Can Marginal Rates of Substitution Be Inferred from Happiness Data? Evidence from Residency Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3498-3528, November.
    17. Eugenio Proto & Aldo Rustichini, 2013. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between GDP and Life Satisfaction," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(11), pages 1-10, November.
    18. Paul Dolan & Daniel Kahneman, 2008. "Interpretations Of Utility And Their Implications For The Valuation Of Health," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 215-234, January.
    19. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
    20. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    21. Layard, R. & Mayraz, G. & Nickell, S., 2008. "The marginal utility of income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1846-1857, August.
    22. Gary Chamberlain, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 225-238.
    23. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & George Ward & Femke De Keulenaer & Bert Van Landeghem & Georgios Kavetsos & Michael I. Norton, 2018. "The Asymmetric Experience of Positive and Negative Economic Growth: Global Evidence Using Subjective Well-Being Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 362-375, May.
    24. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
    25. Di Tella, Rafael & Haisken-De New, John & MacCulloch, Robert, 2010. "Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 834-852, December.
    26. David R. Bell & James M. Lattin, 2000. "Looking for Loss Aversion in Scanner Panel Data: The Confounding Effect of Price Response Heterogeneity," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(2), pages 185-200, May.
    27. Proto, Eugenio & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Life satisfaction, income and personality," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 17-32.
    28. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, March.
    29. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
    30. Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
    31. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Corina Paraschiv, 2007. "Loss Aversion Under Prospect Theory: A Parameter-Free Measurement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(10), pages 1659-1674, October.
    32. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
    33. 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.
    34. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D’Ambrosio & Simone Ghislandi, 2016. "Adaptation to Poverty in Long-Run Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 591-600, July.
    35. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    36. Gottlieb, Daniel, 2014. "Imperfect memory and choice under risk," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 127-158.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Diriwaechter, Patric & Shvartsman, Elena, 2018. "The anticipation and adaptation effects of intra- and interpersonal wage changes on job satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 116-140.
    2. Kaiser, Caspar, 2018. "People do not adapt to income changes: A re-evaluation of the dynamic effects of (reference) income on life satisfaction with GSOEP and UKHLS data," MPRA Paper 89867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & George Ward & Femke De Keulenaer & Bert Van Landeghem & Georgios Kavetsos & Michael I. Norton, 2018. "The Asymmetric Experience of Positive and Negative Economic Growth: Global Evidence Using Subjective Well-Being Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 362-375, May.
    4. Kaiser, Caspar, 2020. "People do not adapt. New analyses of the dynamic effects of own and reference income on life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 494-513.
    5. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Stutzer, Alois, 2014. "Economic Approaches to Understanding Change in Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 8131, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Suppa, Nicolai, 2021. "Unemployment and subjective well-being," GLO Discussion Paper Series 760, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Direct evidence on income comparisons and their welfare effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 408-424, October.
    8. Van Landeghem, Bert & Vandeplas, Anneleen, 2018. "The relationship between status and happiness: Evidence from the caste system in rural India," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 62-71.
    9. Koen Decancq & Marc Fleurbaey & Erik Schokkaert, 2015. "Happiness, Equivalent Incomes and Respect for Individual Preferences," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82, pages 1082-1106, December.
    10. Di Tella, Rafael & Haisken-De New, John & MacCulloch, Robert, 2010. "Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 834-852, December.
    11. Montizaan, Raymond M. & Vendrik, Maarten C.M., 2014. "Misery Loves Company: Exogenous shocks in retirement expectations and social comparison effects on subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 1-26.
    12. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
    13. Korthals, R.A., 2012. "Selection and tracking in secondary education: a cross country analysis of student performance and educational opportunities," ROA Research Memorandum 014, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    14. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita d'Ambrosio & Rong Zhu, 2020. "Living in the Shadow of the Past: Financial Profiles and Well-Being," PSE Working Papers halshs-02497067, HAL.
    15. Montizaan, Raymond M. & Vendrik, Maarten C.M., 2014. "Misery Loves Company: Exogenous shocks in retirement expectations and social comparison effects on subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 1-26.
    16. Abel Brodeur & Sarah Flèche, 2019. "Neighbors' Income, Public Goods, and Well‐Being," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(2), pages 217-238, June.
    17. Tobias Pfaff & Johannes Hirata, 2013. "Testing the Easterlin Hypothesis with Panel Data: The Dynamic Relationship between Life Satisfaction and Economic Growth in Germany and the UK," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 554, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    18. Pfaff, Tobias & Hirata, Johannes, 2013. "Testing the Easterlin hypothesis with panel data: The dynamic relationship between life satisfaction and economic growth in Germany and in the UK," CIW Discussion Papers 4/2013, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    19. Maite Blázquez & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2020. "Financial insecurity and subjective well-being. Europe in crossnational perspective," ThE Papers 20/07, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    20. Edsel L. Beja, 2017. "The Asymmetric Effects of Macroeconomic Performance on Happiness: Evidence for the EU," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 52(3), pages 184-190, May.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cty:dpaper:19/12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Research Publications Librarian). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/decituk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.