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(Mis-)Predicted Subjective Well-Being Following Life Events

Listed author(s):
  • Odermatt, Reto

    ()

    (University of Basel)

  • Stutzer, Alois

    ()

    (University of Basel)

The correct prediction of how alternative states of the world affect our lives is a cornerstone of economics. We study how accurate people are in predicting their future well-being when facing major life events. Based on individual panel data, we compare people's forecast of their life satisfaction in five years' time to their actual realisations later on. This is done after the individuals experience widowhood, marriage, unemployment or disability. We find systematic prediction errors that are at least partly driven by unforeseen adaptation.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 9252.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2015
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9252
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2013. "Back to Baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the British Household Panel Survey," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(319), pages 496-512, July.
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  11. Wim Groot, 2003. "Scale of reference bias and the evolution of health," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 4(3), pages 176-183, September.
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  13. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2011. "Life Satisfaction Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 190-211, March.
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  16. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2014. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 937-956, August.
  17. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2015. "Information Rigidity and the Expectations Formation Process: A Simple Framework and New Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2644-2678, August.
  18. Paul Frijters & Harry Greenwell & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2009. "How well do individuals predict their future life satisfaction? Evidence from panel data following a nationwide exogenous shock," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1326-1346, November.
  19. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
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  21. Groot, Wim, 2000. "Adaptation and scale of reference bias in self-assessments of quality of life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 403-420, May.
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  23. Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Alex Rees-Jones, 2012. "What Do You Think Would Make You Happier? What Do You Think You Would Choose?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2083-2110, August.
  24. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
  25. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
  26. Daniel Kahneman & Richard H. Thaler, 2006. "Anomalies: Utility Maximization and Experienced Utility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 221-234, Winter.
  27. Christopher K. Hsee & Yuval Rottenstreich & Alois Stutzer, 2012. "Suboptimal choices and the need for experienced individual well-being in economic analysis," International Journal of Happiness and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 63-85.
  28. 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.
  29. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Stutzer, Alois, 2014. "Economic Approaches to Understanding Change in Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 8131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  30. Luis Rayo & Gary S. Becker, 2007. "Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 302-337.
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