IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

"De gustibus errari (pot)est": utility misprediction, preferences for well-being and life


  • Becchetti, Leonardo

    () (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)

  • Conzo, Pierluigi

    () (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)


The life satisfaction literature generally focuses on how life events affect subjective well-being. Through a contingent valuation survey we test whether well-being preferences have significant impact on life satisfaction. A sample of respondents is asked to simulate a policymaker decision consisting in allocating scarce financial resources among 11 well-being domains. Consistently with the utility misprediction hypothesis, we find that the willingness to invest more in the economic well-being domain is negatively correlated with life satisfaction. Our findings are shown to be robust when we account for unobservables related to economic fragility and non-random sample selection. Reverse causality and omitted variable bias are controlled for with instrumental variables and a sensitivity analysis on departures from exogeneity assumptions. Subsample estimates document that the less educated are more affected by the problem.

Suggested Citation

  • Becchetti, Leonardo & Conzo, Pierluigi, 2014. ""De gustibus errari (pot)est": utility misprediction, preferences for well-being and life," AICCON Working Papers 137-2014, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:aiccon:2014_137

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hoch, Stephen J & Loewenstein, George F, 1991. " Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Consumer Self-Control," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 492-507, March.
    2. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    3. D.Dragone, 2005. "Incoerenza Dinamica ed Autocontrollo: Proposta per un'Analisi Interdisciplinare," Working Papers 549, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    4. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    5. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2009. "Time-Inconsistency And Welfare Program Participation: Evidence From The Nlsy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1043-1077, November.
    6. Drazen Prelec, 2004. "Decreasing Impatience: A Criterion for Non-stationary Time Preference and "Hyperbolic" Discounting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 511-532, October.
    7. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2005. "Job Search and Impatience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 527-588, July.
    8. Shapiro, Jesse M., 2005. "Is there a daily discount rate? Evidence from the food stamp nutrition cycle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 303-325, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    life satisfaction; well-being preferences; utility misprediction; subjective well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ris:aiccon:2014_137. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Paolo Venturi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.