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If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! Survey design and the analysis of satisfaction

  • Conti, Gabriella
  • Pudney, Stephen

Surveys differ in the way they measure satisfaction and happiness, so comparative research findings are vulnerable to distortion by survey design differences. We examine this using the British Household Panel Survey, exploiting its changes in question design and parallel use of different interview modes. We find significant biases in econometric results, particularly for gender differences in attitudes to the wage and hours of work. Results suggest that the common empirical finding that women care less than men about their wage and more about their hours may be an artifact of survey design rather than a real behavioural difference.

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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2008-39.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2008-39.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2008
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2008-39
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Phone: 44-1206-872957
Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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  1. Freeman, Richard B, 1978. "Job Satisfaction as an Economic Variable," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 135-41, May.
  2. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 1999. "The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction," IZA Discussion Papers 42, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen, 1988. "Job Switching and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 495-594.
  4. Andrew Clark, . "Job Satisfaction and Gender. Why are Women so Happy at Work?," Economics Discussion Papers 415, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  5. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  6. Paolo Ghinetti, 2007. "The Public-Private Job Satisfaction Differential in Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 21(2), pages 361-388, 06.
  7. Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Sousa-Poza, Andres A., 2000. "Well-being at work: a cross-national analysis of the levels and determinants of job satisfaction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 517-538, November.
  8. Shields, Michael A & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2002. "Racial Harassment, Job Satisfaction and Intentions to Quit: Evidence from the British Nursing Profession," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(274), pages 295-26, May.
  9. Alison L. Booth & Jan C. van Ours, 2007. "Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-time Work Puzzle," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1000, The University of Melbourne.
  10. Levy-Garboua, Louis & Montmarquette, Claude, 2004. "Reported job satisfaction: what does it mean?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 135-151, April.
  11. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  12. Matthias Benz, 2005. "Not for the Profit, but for the Satisfaction? - Evidence on Worker Well-Being in Non-Profit Firms," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 155-176, 04.
  13. repec:ese:iserwp:2002-22 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Das, Marcel & van Soest, Arthur, 1999. "A panel data model for subjective information on household income growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 409-426, December.
  15. Nicolai Kristensen & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2007. "Reliability of job satisfaction measures," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 273-292, June.
  16. repec:ese:iserwp:2006-42 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Michael Rose, 2005. "Job Satisfaction in Britain: Coping with Complexity," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(3), pages 455-467, 09.
  18. Mark P. Taylor, 2006. "Tell me why I don't like Mondays: investigating day of the week effects on job satisfaction and psychological well-being," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(1), pages 127-142.
  19. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2005. "Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 39-54.
  20. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
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