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Well-being across America

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

  • Wu, Stephen

    ()

    (Hamilton College)

This paper uses new Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to provide the first estimates of well-being across the states of America. From this sample of 1.3 million US citizens, we analyze measures of life satisfaction and mental health. Adjusting for people's characteristics, states such as Louisiana and DC have high psychological well-being levels while California and West Virginia have low well-being; there is no correlation between states' well-being and their GDP per capita. Correcting for people's incomes, satisfaction with life is lowest in the rich states. We discuss implications for the arbitrage theory that regions provide equal utility and compensating differentials.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp4600.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4600.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2011, 93 (4), 1118-1134
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4600
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  1. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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