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Third Person Effects in Interview Responses on Life Satisfaction

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  • Adrian Chadi

    () (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the EU, University of Trier)

Abstract

This paper investigates the finding that reported life satisfaction scores are significantly higher in the German Socio-Economic Panel when a third person is present during the interview. Even after controlling a variety of relevant factors, third person presence makes up a significant difference in satisfaction levels. A plausible explanation is that interviewees distort their responses in a favourable way. The evidence suggests that this apparently minor aspect could even affect empirical outcomes in happiness research. This study contributes to the literature in this field, especially with respect to the recently revived debate on survey methodology in the reporting of satisfaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian Chadi, 2013. "Third Person Effects in Interview Responses on Life Satisfaction," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201307, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
  • Handle: RePEc:iaa:dpaper:201307
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ed Diener & Ed Sandvik & William Pavot & Dennis Gallagher, 1991. "Response artifacts in the measurement of subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 35-56, February.
    2. Ivar Krumpal, 2013. "Determinants of social desirability bias in sensitive surveys: a literature review," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 2025-2047, June.
    3. Albert Kozma & M. Stones, 1988. "Social desirability in measures of subjective well-being: Age comparisons," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 1-14, February.
    4. Frijters, Paul & Beatton, Tony, 2012. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 525-542.
    5. Paul Dolan & Georgios Kavetsos, 2016. "Happy Talk: Mode of Administration Effects on Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 1273-1291, June.
    6. Gabriella Conti & Stephen Pudney, 2011. "Survey Design and the Analysis of Satisfaction," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 1087-1093, August.
    7. Adrian Chadi, 2012. "I would really love to participate in your survey! Bias problems in the measurement of well-being," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 3111-3119.
    8. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2012. "Heresy or enlightenment? The well-being age U-shape effect is flat," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 235-238.
    9. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
    10. Bert Van Landeghem, 2012. "Panel Conditioning and Self-Reported Satisfaction: Evidence from International Panel Data and Repeated Cross-Sections," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 484, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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    Cited by:

    1. Chadi, Adrian, 2014. "Dissatisfied with Life or with Being Interviewed? Happiness and Motivation to Participate in a Survey," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100505, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Hetschko, Clemens & Chadi, Adrian, 2014. "The Magic of the New: How Job Changes Affect Job Satisfaction," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100329, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Chadi, Adrian, 2013. "The role of interviewer encounters in panel responses on life satisfaction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 550-554.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Well-being; Survey design; Interview-specific factor; Third persons; Response bias;

    JEL classification:

    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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