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Valuing Health Conditions - Insights from Happiness Surveys across Countries and Cultures

Author

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  • Carol Graham
  • Lucas Higuera
  • Eduardo Lora

    ()

Abstract

This paper assesses the effects of different health conditions on happiness. Based on a large data set for Latin America, the effects of different conditions are examined across age, gender, and income cohorts. Anxiety and pain have stronger effects than physical problems, likely because people can adapt better to one-time shocks than to constant uncertainty. The negative effects of health conditions are very large when compared to the effects of income on happiness. While higher peer income typically elicits envy, better peer health provides positive signals for life and health satisfaction. Nonetheless, health norms vary widely across countries. The results suggest that the life satisfaction approach applied to surveys of health may contribute to better health expenditure and policy decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Graham & Lucas Higuera & Eduardo Lora, 2009. "Valuing Health Conditions - Insights from Happiness Surveys across Countries and Cultures," Research Department Publications 4635, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4635
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    File URL: http://www.iadb.org/research/pub_hits.cfm?pub_id=IDB-WP-100&pub_file_name=pubIDB-WP-100.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    3. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2007. "Vignettes and Self-Reports of Work Disability in the United States and the Netherlands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 461-473, March.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    5. 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.
    6. Carol Graham & Andrew Felton, 2006. "Inequality and happiness: Insights from Latin America," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 107-122, April.
    7. Graham, Carol & Eggers, Andrew & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2004. "Does happiness pay?: An exploration based on panel data from Russia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 319-342, November.
    8. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:1:p:27-41 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard, 2017. "Do More of Those in Misery Suffer from Poverty, Unemployment or Mental Illness?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 27-41, February.
    3. Paul Dolan & Henry Lee & Tessa Peasgood, 2012. "Losing Sight of the Wood for the Trees," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 30(11), pages 1035-1049, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Health economics; Public policy; Surveys;

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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