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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
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  1. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Das, J.W.M. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1996. "A Panel Data Model for Subjective Information on Household Income Growth," Discussion Paper 1996-75, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. 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.
  5. Shields, Michael A. & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 2000. "Racial Harassment, Job Satisfaction and Intentions to Quit: Evidence from the British Nursing Profession," IZA Discussion Papers 164, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Clark, Andrew E., 1997. "Job satisfaction and gender: Why are women so happy at work?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 341-372, December.
  7. AlisonL. Booth & JanC. vanOurs, 2008. "Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-Time Work Puzzle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(526), pages F77-F99, 02.
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  11. repec:ese:iserwp:2006-42 is not listed on IDEAS
  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. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2002. "Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity," CeMMAP working papers CWP18/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. 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.
  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. Paolo Ghinetti, 2007. "The Public-Private Job Satisfaction Differential in Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 21(2), pages 361-388, 06.
  17. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1999. "The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction," NBER Working Papers 7332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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