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Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference

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Listed:
  • Daniel J. Benjamin
  • Ori Heffetz
  • Miles S. Kimball
  • Nichole Szembrot

Abstract

This paper proposes foundations and a methodology for survey-based tracking of well-being. First, we develop a theory in which utility depends on "fundamental aspects" of well-being, measurable with surveys. Second, drawing from psychologists, philosophers, and economists, we compile a comprehensive list of such aspects. Third, we demonstrate our proposed method for estimating the aspects' relative marginal utilities--a necessary input for constructing an individual-level well-being index--by asking ~4,600 U.S. survey respondents to state their preference between pairs of aspect bundles. We estimate high relative marginal utilities not only for happiness and life satisfaction, but also for aspects related to family, health, security, values, and freedoms.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel J. Benjamin & Ori Heffetz & Miles S. Kimball & Nichole Szembrot, 2012. "Beyond Happiness and Satisfaction: Toward Well-Being Indices Based on Stated Preference," NBER Working Papers 18374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18374
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521715348.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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