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Priming and the Reliability of Subjective Well-being Measures

Author

Listed:
  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Dobson, Alexander

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

Economists and behavioural scientists are beginning to make extensive use of measures of subjective well-being, and such data are potentially of value to policy-makers. A particularly famous difficulty is that of “priming”: if the order or nature of survey questions changes people’s likely replies then we have grounds to be concerned about the reliability of well-being data and inferences from them. This study tests for priming effects from important life events. It presents evidence from a laboratory experiment which indicates that subjective well-being measures are in general robust to such concerns.

Suggested Citation

  • Sgroi, Daniel & Proto, Eugenio & Oswald, Andrew J. & Dobson, Alexander, 2010. "Priming and the Reliability of Subjective Well-being Measures," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 935, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:935
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ed Diener, 1994. "Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 103-157, February.
    2. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    3. Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel & Oswald, Andrew J., 2010. "Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach," Economic Research Papers 271000, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    4. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2008. "The reliability of subjective well-being measures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1833-1845, August.
    5. William Pavot & Ed Diener, 1993. "The affective and cognitive context of self-reported measures of subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 1-20, January.
    6. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    7. John Yardley & Robert Rice, 1991. "The relationship between mood and subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 101-111, February.
    8. Andrew J. Oswald & Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi, 2015. "Happiness and Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 789-822.
    9. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    10. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough or Don't Pay at All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810.
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    Cited by:

    1. Proto, Eugenio & Sgroi, Daniel & Oswald, Andrew J., 2010. "Are Happiness and Productivity Lower among University Students with Newly-Divorced Parents? An Experimental Approach," Economic Research Papers 271000, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    2. Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi & Andrew Oswald, 2012. "Are happiness and productivity lower among young people with newly-divorced parents? An experimental and econometric approach," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, March.
    3. Bert Van Landeghem, 2012. "Panel Conditioning and Self-Reported Satisfaction: Evidence from International Panel Data and Repeated Cross-Sections," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 484, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    happiness ; life satisfaction ; subjective well-being ; priming; surveys JEL Codes: D03 ; C83 ; C91;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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