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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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  1. Teresa Bago d’Uva & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O’Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2011. "Slipping Anchor?: Testing the Vignettes Approach to Identification and Correction of Reporting Heterogeneity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(4), pages 875-906.
  2. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur Van Soest, 2009. "Life Satisfaction," Working Papers 623-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Van Praag, Bernard, 1971. "The welfare function of income in Belgium: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 337-369.
  4. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
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  6. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Kristensen, Nicolai & Pozzoli, Dario, 2009. "External Validation of the Use of Vignettes in Cross-Country Health Studies," IZA Discussion Papers 3989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  8. Nigel Rice & Silvana Robone & Peter Smith, 2011. "Analysis of the validity of the vignette approach to correct for heterogeneity in reporting health system responsiveness," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 141-162, April.
  9. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O'Donnell, 2008. "Does reporting heterogeneity bias the measurement of health disparities?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 351-375.
  10. 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.
  11. van Beek, Krijn W. H. & Koopmans, Carl C. & van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1997. "Shopping at the labour market: A real tale of fiction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 295-317, February.
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  16. Arthur van Soest & Tatiana Andreyeva & Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith, 2011. "Self-Reported Disability and Reference Groups," NBER Chapters, in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 237-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590570 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. repec:pse:psecon:2005-43 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590570, HAL.
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