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What (If Anything) Do Satisfaction Scores Tell Us about the Intertemporal Change in Living Conditions

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  • Christoph Wunder
  • Johannes Schwarze

Abstract

This paper looks at the information content of satisfaction scores. It is argued that the information content depends on the extent to which people adapt to living conditions in general. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), the estimation of a dynamic panel data model provides evidence that adaptation takes place within a relatively short window of time: changes in living conditions are, for the most part, absorbed by an adjustment of the adaptation level within one year. This leads to the conclusion that the information content of satisfaction scores accentuates recent changes in living conditions. Remote changes are notcaptured by the according survey questions, even if these changes have long-term impact on living conditions. The usefulness of satisfaction scores as an indicator of people's living conditions is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Wunder & Johannes Schwarze, 2010. "What (If Anything) Do Satisfaction Scores Tell Us about the Intertemporal Change in Living Conditions," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 306, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp306
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    adaptation; dynamic panel data model; subjective well-being; satisfaction;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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