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Do Danes and Italians Rate Life Satisfaction in the Same Way? Using Vignettes to Correct for Individual-Specific Scale Biases

  • Viola Angelini, Danilo Cavapozzi, Luca Corazzini, Omar Paccagnella.

Self-reported life satisfaction is highly heterogeneous across similar countries. We show that this phenomenon can by largely explained by the fact that individuals adopt different scales and benchmarks in evaluating themselves. Using a cross sectional dataset on individuals aged 50 and over in ten European countries, we compare estimates from an Ordered Probit in which life satisfaction scales are invariant across respondents with those from a Hopit model in which vignettes are used to correct for individual-specific scale biases. We find that variations in response scales explain a large part of the differences found in raw data. Moreover, the cross countries ranking in life satisfaction dramatically depends on scale biases.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.unibocconi.it/pub/RePEc/slp/papers/islawp31.pdf
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Paper provided by ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series ISLA Working Papers with number 31.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:slp:islawp:islawp31
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Web page: http://www.isla.unibocconi.it/

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  3. Kapteyn, Arie & Smith, James P. & van Soest, Arthur, 2009. "Life Satisfaction," IZA Discussion Papers 4015, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  6. Kristensen, Nicolai & Johansson, Edvard, 2006. "New Evidence on Cross-Country Differences in Job Satisfaction Using Anchoring Vignettes," Working Papers 06-1, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  7. Van Praag, Bernard, 1971. "The welfare function of income in Belgium: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 337-369.
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  10. Andrew Clark, 2001. "Unemployment As A Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," DELTA Working Papers 2001-17, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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